Creating Unique Portraits: Ideas for the Portrait Photographer

This is a syndicated blog post from Digital Photo Magazine. It is being republished here with permission.

No matter what type of photography you like, at one point or another, you’ll find yourself shooting a portrait. I know landscape photographers who swore they would never shoot a portrait in their career, and one week later they were shooting a portrait. Weddings, graduations, holidays or even a day at the zoo all present great opportunities to photograph people.

But how do you create an interesting portrait? We’ve all seen the cliché snapshots and boring group shots suffering from static, stiff poses. Creating compelling portraits takes a combination of good posing, interesting light, relevant location and good rapport with your subject.

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Explore Photography’s Origins with George Eastman Museum’s Photographic Processes Series

Photography may already have progressed by leaps and bounds, but an interesting video series by George Eastman Museum reminds us of how it all began.

For today and future generations, film photography may already seem to be as traditional as photographic processes go. But it actually stretches way back. For us to be able to appreciate how far photographic technology has come, George Eastman Museum created a series of videos that take us back to the processes that revolutionized how we see and capture the world through photography.

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Want to Get Into Leica on the Cheap? Go Steal One!!! (No, Not Really)

You don’t need to spend a whole ton of money to get into Leica cameras on the cheap.

Every photographer, whether or not they want to admit it, has dreamed of a Leica at one point or another. Their ergonomics are top notch, the reliability of their film cameras has always been top notch with recent digital editions following suit, and they’re cameras that you truly need to work and save for. But if you want to get into owning a Leica and working with the system, there are ways to lower the barrier of entry.

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Here’s How Your DSLR’s Phase Detection AF System Works

Did you know that your DSLR’s autofocus system uses phase detection and that it works somewhat similarly to a rangefinder.

Whether you’re buying your first DSLR camera or finally upgrading to a better model, one of the first things you might be keen on looking at is the autofocus feature. In this very quick but very informative video, we learn how exactly the autofocus works in DSLR cameras, and how this knowledge can help you decide on your next buy.

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Get Better at Black and White Photography With These Quick Tips

If black and white photography has been on your mind, you may want to bring this handful of quick tips with you the next time you go out and shoot.

Black and white used to be the only way to go back in the old days of photography. Today, however, there’s more than one way to make sure your black and white photos are on point. With these quick tips from London-based photographer Jamie Windsor, you can at least have a head start on getting better at black and white photography, whatever the genre you want to take on.

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This Detailed Comparison Shows the Difference Between Slide Film vs. Color Negative Film

If you want to get serious with film photography, especially when shooting with slide films, this comparison video will give you an idea when it’s the better choice over color negative films.

With film discontinuations here and there over the years, shooting with slide films has become either rare opportunities that you save for special shoots, or quirky experiments using expired film stocks. Still, for those who really want to get serious with film photography, knowing how to make the most out of the fresh slide films still available out there is paramount. In this very informative and detailed comparison video by Jay P. Morgan of The Slanted Lens, we get to see two of today’s popular slide films, Fuji Provia 100 and Fuji Velvia 100, go head-to-head with a color negative favorite, the Kodak Portra 160.

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Tutorial: The Differences Between a Parabolic Umbrella and a Beauty Dish

Photographer Anita Sedowska takes us through what a parabolic umbrella and a beauty dish do for portraiture.

When it comes to portrait photography there is no doubt in my mind that softboxes are the most popular diffusers, but parabolic umbrellas and beauty dishes are also a favorite of many photographers. If you’re just getting into lighting, then it can be difficult to look at an image and determine whether a softbox, umbrella, or beauty dish was used to shoot it. Anita Sedowska takes you through this in her latest tutorial video which you’ll find after the jump, but we thought that we’d go into our archives to dig even deeper.

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Mijonju Introduces Photographers to Shooting Large Format with a Wista 45D Camera

For the latest installment of The Mijonju Show, we get some quick tips on shooting with a large format camera.

In case you haven’t heard yet, everyone’s favorite camera lover and collector Mijonju is back with The Mijonju Show. We’ve previously seen him test and review the MiNT InstantKon RF70 prototype a few months ago. In his most recent analog adventure, he takes us to a quick portrait session with a 4×5 large format camera. Step right up if you’re planning to shoot large format soon!

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This Lightroom Trick Will Let You Change The Color of Objects In Your Images

Thinking outside of the box with a Lightroom trick like this can yield some powerful techniques for adjusting your images

Lightroom is an interesting piece of software, on one hand, if all you want to do is apply a preset or make some basic adjustments to your image it can be an incredibly simple and straightforward experience. On the other hand, if you want to take things to another level in your postprocessing workflow without leaving Lightroom there are some more advanced ways that you can tweak and modify your images to great effect. One such method is this way to adjust the color of specific objects in your images within Lightroom utilizing the adjustment brush. Continue reading…

How to DIY a Pinhole Camera for Some Cool Solargraphy

Our photography funny man, Lou Guarneri, is back with a new “Lou-torial” showing us how to make a pinhole camera for trying out solargraphy.

Are you in the mood to get crafty and try something new? If you said yes to both, we have just the right stuff for you today – a new “Lou-torial” for a DIY pinhole camera! You’re going to love step one — grab a can of your favorite drink and chug the contents down, because that can will be your camera for the day!

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Review: Masters of Photography Featuring Steve McCurry

Steve McCurry was my first photography influence, and I didn’t even know it

When I was a kid back in the 1980’s, I devoured issue after issue of National Geographic at the library. I’d read them cover to cover, one after the other. I can still remember seeing his iconic Afghan Girl portrait, which is among the greatest pictures ever created.

It’s weird. ​If you ask me about my biggest influences, I’ll say Albert Watson, Irving Penn, and Richard Avedon. But my actual portrait work says​ it’s Steve McCurry all the way.​ ​That’s astounding to me ​because I started my photography journey in 2008, over 15 years after I stopped reading National Geographic. So when Masters of Photography announced a class with Steve, I was pumped, and not just because of my nostalgic connection to his work. I loved Masters of Photography’s class with Joel Meyerowitz, and I’ll always jump to learn from the masters.

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Day to Night: Making the Holy Grail of Time Lapses

Time lapse clips are an excellent way to add interest to your videos and illustrate a passage of time (featured image screen capture from video. credit to Vic VideopIC)

There is nothing quite like watching a well-done time lapse video sequence. These simple, yet nuanced video clips are created by combining a ton of still frames at a constant interval over a set period of time and then combining them all on a timeline to create a video clip. But in locations where the light changes rapidly, getting your exposure to be consistent throughout the time lapse can be difficult. For long time lapse videos, and those covering a period of time during the day and into the night, many photographers struggle with how to shoot and process this sort of project.

But have no fear; we’ve got you covered. Continue reading…

How to Find Models If You Don’t Have a Big Budget or Portfolio

Finding models to get started with your portrait or fashion photography projects is easy with these tips!

Many of us who want to finally get started with portrait photography or fashion shoots often come across a road block; how do we find a model? By trying out these quick tips, you may be on your way to finally get in touch with a model to learn the ropes of portraiture and put together a portfolio.

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Backyard Bird Photography with a Super-Telephoto Zoom

This is a syndicated blog post from Digital Photo Magazine. It is being republished here with permission.

I don’t know much about birds, but I know lots of them inhabit my yard. I hear a woodpecker on occasion, and I can identify a blue jay and a cardinal when I see them, but that’s about the limit of my avian expertise. So, when I rented a super-telephoto zoom lens to get a better glimpse of the birds in my backyard, I was amazed by the world of detail it opened up to me. Who knew the basic beige birds I glimpsed from a distance were actually beautiful and nuanced with heretofore-unseen patterns and colors in their feathers. No matter where you live, here are some tips for photographing birds with a super-telephoto zoom in your own backyard.

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Pro Tip: Put Something in Front of Your Lens for Instantly More Interesting Photos

Bored with your photos? Try this easy pro tip to change the way you see and frame scenes and get instantly more interesting snaps!

Once in a while, we feel the need to shake up our routine, styles, and techniques to improve our photography. If you feel your work could use something new and different, you might want to try out this quick pro tip. It’s so easy that you probably haven’t thought of it before!

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A Quick Visual Reference of How Much Light a Full Frame Sensor Absorbs Vs an APS-C Sensor

Full frame sensors are great when it comes to the editing process later on.

While testing out the Rokinon 50mm f1.4 AF for the Sony a7r III and the Fujifilm X-H1, I was shooting with f1.4 lenses on both cameras. When exposing scenes at ISO 6400 and shooting wide open at f1.4 with similar metering, I came across something that I found was pretty crazy. To verify it, I showed it to a buddy of mine who works for a pretty famous camera store. When he saw it himself, he was pretty shocked. I knew for years that full frame sensors tend to absorb more light per pixel and have better color overall–but I’ve never had a visual difference otherwise until recently.

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Equipping The Outdoor Studio Portrait Photographer

This is a syndicated blog post from Digital Photo Pro Magazine. It is being republished here with permission.

There are lots of reasons to make portraits outdoors. First and foremost, you avoid the expense and space requirements of setting up a studio. And since most studios are equipped with artificial lighting and modifiers, there’s a lot of gear to buy, too. Outdoors, however, you’re given the gift of one of the most powerful and beautiful light sources around: the sun. And with the simplest tools—a white card as a reflector, for instance—you can learn to manipulate sunlight to gain studio-style lighting control outdoors.

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Here’s Why Astrophotography in Creepy Abandoned Spots Can Be Worth It

That abandoned gas station or crumbling old house way out of town could be one of the best spots for astrophotography if you want to get some cool star trail or Milky Way snaps.

So, you’ve finally decided to do some astrophotography and nail one of those gorgeous star trail and Milky Way photos. If you did your homework, you already know one crucial element in this kind of photography: location, location, location. You’ll need a spot far enough from the city so there’s no light pollution that could cloud your long exposure. Somewhere with an interesting foreground would also be great. For photographer Brendan van Son, it was a creepy ghost town. The results, however, were worth the scare!

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