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Chris Gampat the Phoblographer Fujifilm Xpert Advice Portrait Lens Photo (1 of 1)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 2.4

Lots of folks will tell you that you should always focus on the eyes when shooting a portrait. Why? Because eyes are the metaphorical windows to the soul. It’s very easy for those photographers to also get caught up in shooting portraits with their lenses wide open all the time.

Don’t do that–especially when working with portraits.

If you’re shooting a portrait and the eyes are all that’s in focus, you’re not giving your portrait subject more depth. Instead, try stopping down just a little bit to ensure that the eyes are not only tack sharp but that you also have a bit more in focus–like their face. Sure, the eyes can tell you a lot but so too can the face.

With Fujifilm’s X series interchangeable lens cameras, you don’t need to stop down a lot. Because of the 1.5x crop factor of the APS-C X Trans sensor, you’ll have more in focus at a given aperture than you will with a full frame camera. That means that at f1.2 on the 56mm f1.2 lens, you’ll have the equivalent depth of field of 1.2 x 1.5 which = f1.8’s equivalent depth of field with a full frame camera. So try getting more of your subject in focus rather than just concentrating on just their iris.

For even better results, use Fujifilm’s Astia film rendering. This film was developed for portraiture due to the soft colors and the way that it handles skin tones. We’d also be doing you lots of injustice if we told you to not worry about lighting. Backlighting your subject is often a great method, but try to go for softer light like that from a window.

Xpert Advice is a monthly collaboration between the Phoblographer and Fujifilm designed to teach you photography tips and tricks in a bite-sized package.

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All images by Ayman Abbas. Used with permission.

Photographer Ayman Abbas specialises in Advertising and Lifestyle photography and has since 2002. He’s won awards like Coca Cola’s Best advertising photographer in 2008, and prides himself on having accomplished around 1800 days of shooting so far.

So what’s with the giant smile on the faces? Ayman tells us that it was part of a project for a potato chip brand called “Chipsy” where Creative Director Hossam Moro wanted to create something cheerful and different for the brand. What’s really cool is not only their expressions, but the way that the scenes play with colors.

To get the look, Ayman tells us that a Brazilian company retouched the images in a cartoon style to give everyone these giant smiles. The rest of the images are after the jump.

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Leading lines in photography are some of the best ways to naturally tell the viewer where to look–besides using depth of field, rule of thirds and more. But they’re very important in regards to portraits because of the way that it can make a body specifically look. The folks over at Weekly Imogen talk about specifics like using corners and other lines based on the specifics of the portraiture (such as posing.)

Essentially what they’re saying is to use natural areas but don’t look at your scene in terms of simple emphasis on your subject. Instead, they’re trying to teach you to look at the entire scene. Don’t think that’s important? Consider the fact that simple things that are out of focus can end up bothering viewers because of the way that it looks like they’re coming out of a person’s body.

One of the absolute best ways to teach yourself to look at leading lines is to shoot an image and render it in black and white. Then after this, print the image out and draw the lines out on another sheet of paper. Look at the shape and decide whether it’s interesting or not. This exercise will teach you to see the world in a different way.

The video on using leading lines is after the jump.

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All images by Drew English. Used with permission.

I’m not afraid of people. I’m not afraid of talking to total strangers. But for years I have had an aversion to approaching people on the street and getting them to participate in my creative process point blank. Living in New York City, you’re consistently surrounded by seemingly unlimited human diversity, which I find very artistically inspiring. My eye is often drawn to an interesting face, look or style and my knee-jerk reaction is a desire to capture their portrait. Unfortunately, my nerves always held me back and I have missed out on countless opportunities.

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Image by Marius Vieth

Image by Marius Vieth

All images by the respective photographers. Used with permission in our original interviews with them.

One of the truest facts of photography and the art world is that ideas always become recycled, modified and worked on. Photographers are always looking for new inspiration and ways to incorporate other ideas into their own current creative endeavors. But amongst all of the photographers out there, 12 stand out to us more than the others.

This isn’t any ordinary list. The folks like Zack Arias, Jeremy Cowart, and Brian Matiash are all well known amongst the photography community. These folks aren’t necessary the underdogs,  but you should consider them to be up-and-coming at the very least.

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All photos by Malea Blackburn. Used with permission.

When it comes to portraiture, photographer Malea Blackburn believes that film is the best medium you can work with–and she has quite the portfolio to back up that statement. Malea finds that digital is okay, but film brings forth even more raw emotion in the images. Additionally, one needs to be much more careful and exacting when they shoot a film portrait–which then translates into more interactivity between the photographer and the subject. Eventually this interpersonal relationship is conveyed through the images.

But what’s even more fascinating is what Malea does with the subject beforehand to make sure that they have the right chemistry on camera together. Be sure to also check out Malea on Instagram and Twitter.

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