What Makes a Photograph a Portrait - Planning & Preparation
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How Important are PLANNING and PREPARATION when it comes to PORTRAITURE?
As I stated in the previous article, in order to create a Representation of the subject, which shows the Likeness, Personality and the Mood of the Subject requires PLANNING.
First, it must be determined: What ASPECT of the Personality will be highlighted and HOW. Then what MOOD will be depicted, and HOW. Personality and Mood can be hinted at by use of COLORS in the Portrait, CLOTHING, and of course FACIAL EXPRESSION.
ACTIVITY can also contribute to a sense of understanding the Personality and Mood. The image of a person in dark clothes, sitting on the floor of a semi-dark room, curled up against a wall and hugging their knees with a drooping mouth portrays one type of personality and mood, and the image of a person, dancing on an expanse of rich green lawn, in light colored clothes, in the sunshine and with a smile depicts an entirely different Personality and Mood!
Facial Expression is a KEY Element, and should look “Natural” and Comfortable. You can’t hide “Lying Eyes”!
Once the general Mood and the Personality that is desired for the portrait is determined, then decisions about lighting, And Camera Angles need to be made and Planned. Especially Lighting, but also Camera Angles can
contribute DRAMA, and dramatically influence the Perception of Personality and Mood in the Portrait.
Next I’ll share some insights about PORTRAIT LIGHTING .
How Important is LIGHTING in PORTRAITS?
stated previously, LIGHTING and CAMERA ANGLES play important roles
in not only creating a Likeness
of the Subject, but also in Portraying thePersonality
and the Mood of
Personally I feel that the most important role of Camera Angle is to DE-centuate the less desirable features of the Subject, and then to AC-centuate the most desirable features. Camera Angle can also play into setting the Mood of a Portrait.
Lighting however is KING when it comes to Photography! Not only is it responsible for making Photography Possible, but it can contribute Dramatically to the “feeling” or Mood of the Portrait.
Think of the old Horror Movies where the Camera Angle is Low, making the Villain appear Taller and more menacing,, and The Light is coming from a Low angle casting Shadows over the eyes and giving a ghoulish appearance to the face, while also casting shadows behind the villain presenting an even more eerie and horrible Mood.
Ah, then think now of the old Black and White Hollywood Star productions with Romantic scenes and Leading actors being lit with One Light, creating Dramatic Shadows, Sculpting their facial features, and leaving indelible images in the minds of the viewers!
LIGHTING especially.... and also Camera Angles are indispensable parts of the PLAN for Portraiture.
In the next article, I’ll share some insights about COMPOSITION for PORTRAITS.
For more information on how YOU can have Great portraits created for you, go to YourPerfectPortrait.net.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stan P. Cox II runs a Portrait and Commercial photography studio in Honolulu, Hawaii, and has been a professional Hawaii photographer for over 30 years specializing in portraiture. His web site is: http://www.paramountphotography.com This article may be freely distributed if this resource box stays attached.