5 Short Tips on Shooting Better Portraits with a 35mm Lens

The 35mm lens is a versatile option for many, and shooting portraits of people with it can be really simple.

For many years, a 35mm lens wasn’t considered a viable option for shooting portraits–and depending on who you ask it still isn’t a good option. It doesn’t mean that it can’t be done, it just means that it’s much more difficult to do effectively vs other options that are longer on the market. But the 35mm lens has become standard in the way that many photographers see the world. In turn, they want to capture the world just as how they see it. For portraiture, we’re going to give you some bite sized creative tips on how to make the most of a 35mm lens.

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An Introduction to Shooting Portraits in Natural Light

Don’t have a strobe or not sure how to use one? You can still create some good portraits using natural light

Photographing portraits using natural light as the sole light source have become such a rage lately that some photographers have branded themselves as “Natural Light Only Photographers.” While you can certainly create some stunning images with the proper use of only natural light, understanding how light behaves and being able to harness light in all of its forms, natural or otherwise, will help shape you into a better, more complete photographer.

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Portrait Posing Tutorial: Making the Nose More Flattering

Lots of folks are self-conscious about the way their noses look in portraits; so it’s your job to fix this.

One of the biggest things that photographers shooting portraits need to learn is how to pose. The idea that you can simply just capture things happening isn’t creative and it doesn’t necessarily do your subject any justice. With posing comes paying attention–especially to the nose. Though modern lenses and software technology have helped us all make images that are more flattering to subjects, we as photographers shouldn’t rely on technology alone to create better photos. There needs to be an obvious human element that comes forward. So to make a person’s nose look better, try these tips.

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Creating Stunning Portraits Using Beautiful Golden Hour Light

While you don’t need the golden hour to get the best portraits, it surely does help.

For the uninitiated, Golden Hour describes the short, fleeting period of time just after the sun had risen or immediately before it is about to set. During this momentary window, the sun appears very close to the horizon and produces a quality of available light that tends to be beautifully diffused and typically embodies a warmer tone than usual. Portrait photographers, particularly those that rely heavily on natural light, often prefer to photograph their subjects during these ephemeral minutes because of the beautiful quality the light imparts onto their subjects. We have a wealth of tutorials here on The Phoblographer that cover topics such as portrait subject posing as well as how to best interact with your subjects to bring out the expressions you’re looking for, but for the purposes of this particular tutorial, we are going to focus specifically on the challenges that you will likely come across when photographing portraits during Golden Hour and what you can do to combat them.
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These Two Pro Photographers Share Their Tips on Posing Couples

All images by Vanessa Joy and Tracie Maglosky, used with permission.

One of the common challenges many portrait photographers will face at some point during their careers is how to best pose their subjects to capture them in their best light during a photoshoot. When photographing couples, things get more difficult because now you’ve got to worry about not one, but two subjects. We recently had the opportunity to speak with New Jersey-based wedding photographer Vanessa Joy as well as Cincinnati-based wedding and portrait photographer Tracie Maglosky, and these seasoned veterans generously shared some valuable insight into photographing and posing couples. Vanessa is perhaps best known for her wedding photography education work on top of being one of Profoto’s Legend of Light, and Tracie is one of Olympus’s Visionaries and a Profoto Legend of Light as well.

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Review: Masters of Photography With Albert Watson

Masters of Photography is back again with a new online course. This time you will be given in-depth knowledge from the prestigious fashion and portrait photographer, Albert Watson.

From the first minute I picked up a camera I had that passion. And when I was shooting last week I still had that passion” says Watson. An opening statement that gives the student reassurance they’re about to learn from someone still enthusiastic about the art form. With our excitement bubbling over, let’s take a deeper look at Albert Watson’s Masters of Photography course…

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How to Never Take a Blurry Photo Ever Again as a Result of Camera Shake

Photographers of all skill levels can benefit from learning how to take less blurry photos.

While some photographers will tell you that shooting a camera is often like shooting a gun and that it has to do with your breathing, they couldn’t be any further from telling you only a partial truth. There’s a whole lot more that goes into shooting an image and maintaining a lack of blur caused by camera shake. It depends on a number of factors that image and sensor stabilization alone aren’t really going to help you out on. The saying goes something like “It’s not about the camera, it’s about how you use it.” To that end, the technology inside the camera and lenses can help you, but they’re still not completely responsible for getting a camera-shake-free photo. So here are some tips to help you out.

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How to Get the Colors in Your Portraits to Pop With Less Work

If the colors in your portraits are bland, then try something else.

One of the biggest problems that photographers have when it comes to portraiture can be dealing with the colors. The simple way to do this is to simply just shoot during the golden hour, but that takes away a major part of the creative process. Making the colors in your image pop not only has to do with effective placement, but it also has to do with their tones, the lighting, and your processing. Let’s delve further!

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Quick Lighting Tip: How Light Diffusion Can Sometimes Kill Details in a Photo

Is diffusion always a good thing when it comes to photography?

Diffusion: in regards to photography, this is the softening of light as it pertains to the quality of it. There is hard light which is often much less diffused while soft light is very diffused. Diffusion can break things known as specular highlights–which are little bits of light and details that come out due to the illumination found with light. Flash duration and a number of other things also play a role. But with diffusion, light’s super powers can be nullified.

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The Beginner’s Guide To Shooting Street Portraits (Part 3)

If you’ve been following this guide to shooting street portraits then you’re already on your way to becoming a legitimate street portrait photographer. It’s now time to get you over the line…

By now you should have gathered some experience in approaching people in the street and asking them if you can take their portrait. Through using the tips and techniques listed in part 1 and part 2,  hopefully, your confidence has grown – both in taking street portraits and communicating with people.  I’m sure there have been some difficult encounters along the way, just know that’s all part of the learning process. As we bring this beginners guide to a close we are going to take a closer look at what makes a compelling street portrait and how to end the interaction with your subject.

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The Beginner’s Guide To Shooting Street Portraits (Part 2)

“Taking a picture is very technical, but 99.9% is spent on this connection that allows me to reach someone”. Platon.

Welcome back to the second instalment of The Beginner’s Guide To Shooting Street Portraits. Last week we defined what street portraits are, looked at how you should approach a subject and the best ways to handle rejection. This week we’re going to take your knowledge a step further. We will cover ways you can make your subject feel relaxed, and also what settings you should be using when taking a street portrait. Of course, we want you to get hands-on practice, so expect us to send you away at the end with a little challenge to focus on.

View Part 1 here.

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The Beginner’s Guide To Shooting Street Portraits (Part 1)

Taking a portrait of a complete stranger is extremely liberating. However, to do them successfully, street portraits take skill, confidence and good intuition.

I’m often asked about my process when it comes to photographing strangers. How do I approach someone? What if they say no? Should I shoot in manual mode? These are just a few of the questions I receive as people want to start their own journey in street portraiture. Determined to support you, I’m putting together a 3 part guide to help develop your approach to street portraits.

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How To: An Introduction to Street Style Dance Photography

Dance photography is absolutely gorgeous; how do you get into it?

It’s quite easy for many photographers to scroll their Instagram feed and double tap any dance photography they see. The reason why is because it’s all pretty magical. Like everyone in the photography community says and does though, everyone wants to do it. But how? To figure this out, we talked to photographer Kien Quan and Omar Robles–arguably two of the bigger dance photographers on Instagram. In two separate interviews, we took a look at their work and asked for digestible quotes to help out other photographers.

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Review: Magnum – The Art of Street Photography (Online Course)

The highly anticipated first online course from Magnum – The Art of Street Photography – has arrived.  

Magnum, arguably the worlds’ number one photography collective, has put on workshops all around the globe. Over the years, their A-list photographers have taught their skills to new and experienced students.

Now, for the first time, Magnum have delved into the world of online teaching –  focusing first on street photography. The course has almost 3 hours of content which is split into 10 lessons. Inside you’ll see appearances from the likes of Bruce Gilden, Martin Parr and Susan Meiselas – as well as a host of other industry-leading experts.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the highlights…

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How to Create Stunning Lighting on Location Using Speedlights

Planning to shoot on location anytime soon? Get an idea on how to make those speedlights work for you with these lighting tips.

One of the things you’ll learn as a portrait photographer is that lighting definitely still has its place when shooting on location. If you want to give it a try soon, Trevor Dayley has put together a quick video with lighting equipment maker MagMod to help you get an idea on how you can use speedlights to achieve stunning outdoor portraits.

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How To Develop Your Photographic Voice

Buying a camera is the simplest part of your photographic journey – switching it on is the second. But to develop your photographic voice takes time, experimentation and a deep analysis of your self.

New photographers often want to imitate those that inspired them to first delve into the world of photography. They look at images from the past masters and confirm to themselves “I want to take photographs just like that”. They buy their first camera and tell the whole world that they are going to be a photographer. First, forcing family members to sit and pose, and second, taking photos of every sunset that they witness. But like any relationship, the honeymoon period only lasts for so long. Over time you need to become more confident in who you are and what you can do. You need to find your place in the photographic world, and it needs to hear your voice.  Doing so isn’t easy – how does one go from replicating the work of others to truly finding out who they are as a photographer?

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The Approach: How to Do Bath Tub Shoots with Models (NSFW)

The iconic bath tub shoot is one that photographers should try at least once.

For years the bathtub shoot has been a fantastical and magical idea for many photographers. Those of us who draw our ideas from cinema, the bathtub can come from lots of 90s movies including those like American Beauty. Then there were those of Marilyn Monroe amongst others. Doing these shoots of course requires planning, ideas, work, and figuring out things like spaces available. To me, these style of shoots are mostly a result of my restless mind and my endless urge to create something and improve my portraiture skills, like a fine art series or a short-term project but without an artist’s statement or intention. Most of these style of shoots are a collaboration between models, stylists, and myself so everyone has something to add to the shoot.

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This Big Tip Will Help You with Fashion and Portrait Photography!

Been looking for your next fashion photography inspiration? This short video featuring Australian fashion and beauty photographer Max Papendieck will give you just that.

Whether you want to do fashion portraits as a hobby or you want to do it professionally in the long run, it always help to get some tips and be inspired by those who are already successful in the field. In this quick video by Henry Thong, we get our fashion photography inspiration from Australian fashion and beauty photographer Max Papendieck, who has photographed a good number of high-profile personalities for an impressive list of brands and publications.

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Natural Light vs Off Camera Flash for Outdoor Portrait Photography

Learn how to work with both natural lighting and off camera flash outdoors in this quick portrait photography tutorial.

Spotted a picture-perfect location for some portrait photography projects and practice? Working with natural light isn’t your only option to get some impressive shots. In this quick video, find out what you can achieve with both natural light and off camera flash, and decide which look you want.

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Breaking the Rule of Thirds in Seascape Photography

Screenshot image from the video by Adam Karnacz.

One of the first things photographers and photography enthusiasts learn is composition, in particular, the rule of thirds. Out of the many composition techniques out there, the Rule of Thirds is arguably the most popular. We’re advised to stick to the rule of thirds by default because it makes our photos a lot more pleasing to look at. However, we are free to break the rule if, and only IF, the situation calls for it. And only if you understand this rule by heart, of course.

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Adam Karnacz on Using Color to Elevate Landscape Photography

Screenshot image from the video by Adam Karnacz. 

Filmmaker and landscape photographer Adam Karnacz is back with another educational video to help you improve your landscape photography. This time around, he talks about how one can use and control color to elevate their landscape photography.

In the 17-minute video, Adam highlighted five aspects – planning, composing with color, black and white and monochrome, post-processing, and printing – to help you wield color to your advantage. He emphasized that no matter whether one prefers vibrant and saturated colors, or muted colors, or monochrome or black and white, “…what is happening with the color in your image, you should be in control of because we don’t want that happening by chance.”

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