Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Portrait Photography - Useful Information

Sir Frederick Funkeldink Today I have the mental weakness of thinking in straight lines. This means I must follow yesterday's useful information on landscape photography with resources for portrait photography. As I've stated previously a lot of portrait photography is about your rapport with your subject and their trust of your ability to represent them. This means a portion of these links are a little less specific. I'll start with two portrait photographers of note worth looking at for differing reasons.

Arnold Newman - One of the great masters of the photographic portrait. His work is worth looking at for its great use of space and his ability to use the environment to tell you something about his subject. It's also obvious how great his relationship with his subjects is.
Hellen Van Meene - Renowned Nederland's photographer. Uses natural light and props/costume to produce stunning and original portraits with a very unusual and original feel to them. A great photographer to study for her use of light and colour in an image. Sadly the web can't do justice to how wonderful her prints are in reality.

The next two links are more technically useful with some information you can use directly either for ideas or to improve your technique and ability. This has the side effect of making your subject more relaxed as you'll be working fast and with confidence so they don't have time to panic or doubt your ability.

DG28.COM - This site is the brainchild of Neil Turner. Neil has been a freelancer and then a staff photographer for the Times Educational Supplement. He's a master of his craft and has great lighting and improvisational skills. I think they've been developed by hard work and the need to cope under the pressure of his job. On his website he generously shares his experience, tips and skills to give you great insight and inspiration as to what you can achieve in a portrait.
Planet Neil - A site made by Neil van Niekerk with a splendid tutorial on flash lighting. It is the best tutorial on this tricky subject that I've read anywhere. It's accessible easy to follow and superbly readable. It puts mastering flash and controlling light into the reach of anyone with a flashgun. As available light will not always suffice this is an essential read.

A couple of good books to read on the subject of portrait photography are:

Lighting For Portraits - By Steve Bavister. - A well illustrated and well written book covering the simple lighting for portraits right up to very complex studio setups with examples and diagrams of each style.
Portraits - By Steve McCurry. - A book of nothing but portraits by this most splendid of photographers. Pay attention to his use of colour and background. He reminds me of a rennaisance painter.

1 comment:

Paul Indigo said...

Excellent article with lots of useful resources, as with your one on landscapes.

You're doing a great job, providing a beacon for many photographers out their searching for answers.