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Photography: Portraits

Aug 18, 2007
When you are taking portraits, there are a lot of aspects to take into consideration. While you will want to have some professionally done portraits done throughout your lifetime, you can still take some great family pictures with your digital camera.

Are you taking photographs of babies or other children? Take advantage of the most important feature of your digital camera - the ability to shoot lots of photos without wasting film. However, please limit kids exposures to bright light if you insist on using flash.

Kids, especially babies, are notorious for getting fidgety during a photo shoot. It may not be possible to set up a perfectly posed shoot with your subjects close to each other, all facing the camera, smiling bright with their eyes wide open. Children may look away from the camera, yawn, scratch their hair, etc.

If its impossible to get the perfect posed shot, consider taking extra action photos of them partaking in various activities. Keep your digital camera with you - sometimes these activity shots, or other unplanned shots, are more memorable than studio portraits!

Imagine which has more impact - a photograph of a posed child sitting on a chair, or one of them throwing their hands up while going down a slide, or right as they bite into a big, juicy watermelon.

By taking plenty of photographs, you can help ensure that one of the pictures will turn out a winner.

When taking photographs of babies or small kids, it is natural, as an adult, to point your digital cameras lens downward toward the child. However, this can often result in photos that look like the child is overwhelmed by the largeness of their surroundings.

Consider kneeling or sitting when taking a photograph, shooting with your digital camera lens pointed directly at the child as to shoot from their eye level. This can better show how the world looks to them, possibly resulting in more pleasing photographs.

When taking a photo of a group of people, do not be afraid to tell them to get in closer together. This is often necessary to ensure everyones full face is in the LCD or viewfinder. You do not want to crop someones ear, and you do not want to lose half of someones face in the final photograph. Make sure everyones face is well inside the frame in case you have to rotate and crop the photo later to make it straight.

If you have ever shot a photograph with more than just a couple of people, you are sure to know what the blinking syndrome is. Most everyone will be smiling, looking straight at the camera, but someone is going to blink. This may result in a less than pleasing photograph.

Blinking is a natural reaction whenever people are exposed to bring light. And, even if flash photography is not used, people are so used to it that they may tend to tense up in anticipation of the light, causing them to blink almost on reflex. So, how can one stop a group of people from blinking?

If you have to use flash, make sure everyone is ready before you take the photo. Instead of taking just one photo, take two or three photos and plan on using the last one. After a couple of flashes, most peoples eyes will get used to the light and they may not blink. However, do not overshoot with flash, as too much bright light may damage eyes!

If at all possible, take your group photo in a well-lit area that does not require flash. Especially with todays modern digital cameras, you may be able to get away with changing some basic settings such as exposure time (if you can keep everyone still) to get a nice, bright picture. If you plan on doing this, make sure you tell everyone that flash will not be used so they do not tense up.

When setting up a portrait shot, consider simplifying the background to avoid photo clutter. If you take a photo of someone in front of a busy background, when someone else looks at the picture their eyes will wander all over the place.

Your photos should focus the viewer on the person, and only afterwards their surroundings. Instead of getting an entire mountain scene in the photo, just get enough so the viewer knows the person is in front of mountains.

You cannot get entire skyscrapers in a photo and still record the details of a persons face, so unless you are just going for the effect of comparing the persons size with the largeness of their surroundings, focus on one background detail and let the persons image fill most of the viewfinder.

When taking portraits, its essential to make sure that your subjects are at ease and relaxed in order for you to get the perfect picture. Talk to them, smile, and be at ease yourself. When you mirror the behavior you want them to have, they are more likely to follow suit and the pictures will look incredible!

Your pictures have been taken and now its time to download them to your computer. This, too, requires a little know-how in order to save them efficiently.
About the Author
For several years now, Jason has been reviewing hundreds of online products and services. Many consider his reviews to be very insightful and reliable. Visit his website bestcamerabargains.com
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