I thought I might experiment with one handed selfies. They are so popular at the moment I wanted to see if they were mainly shot up people’s noses out of necessity. Nope. Your arm is long enough to get your chin out and down. Due to the short focal distance there is some distortion of features that occurs with the lens. I used a 35mm. I found shots not looking directly at the camera were better. A distorted, bulbous nose is no friend to any woman’s portrait!
I have been studying. A main point that stood out to me as obvious but sometimes overlooked is that the lightest area in a photo is where your attention is drawn. By squinting your eyes you can see those areas more obviously. In a portrait the main focus is most often the face and eyes. This portrait was snapped outside in the garden and it is busy. Busy colour, busy environment. In this instance I felt the environment framed the subject well, but distracted slightly from the face so I decided to make it black and white. I converted it to black and white in Photoshop then identified the colours that needed to be altered slightly to enhance the face region while retaining as much detail as possible and minimise the background. When I felt I found a balance I liked I used a high pass filter with a layer mask to sharpen the outer edges of the face to emphasise them from the background and that was that.
Here is the result. As always with my photography it is a work in progress. I would love to know your thoughts. Particularly any ideas for improvement. My own critique included less contrast to reveal more detail in the face next time. I find it difficult to work that out. Monitors seem to make them varying brightnesses etc. Ah, well, back to the drawing board.
This is out the front of our house. Its as close to the street as my son is allowed to go without supervision. Ever since I Photoshopped him in his cape into a cityscape he has been obsessed with me photographing him as a superhero. That is him being very serious about superheroing. Followed by him being very serious about preventing me photographing him at all by rolling around on the ground. Fortunately it only takes a fraction of a second to get him when he checked to see if I was still watching.
Our boys are camping in the backyard with Dad tonight. They had a campfire. I seized the opportunity to have a go at photographing flames. I found it difficult to focus. I will need to practise that some more.
Yesterday I photographed a friend of mine outside in natural light to practise posing. She was a bit uncomfortable at the close up, plain face shots. So it was inside last night on photoshop that some ‘magic’ happened and the background got a bit more ‘interesting’. I love the result and as someone with a budget of exactly ZERO for backdrops it is quite handy.
Well it was MUCH harder than I had anticipated to direct someone into a pose. All things considered (we had about 10min to leave the husbands with our combined 5 children and pop across the road to the blank wall of my neighbours house. It was windy and the SUN came out in the middle of a cloudy day…silly sun) it went fairly well for a first go. Things I have learned: I need much more practise. I need to know the poses in the same way you see movies of snipers putting guns together with their eyes closed. I need to be on the subject in a routine way to set the pose and hold it. I am sure I learned more, but I can’t think of it right now…which was exactly what my brain did when I went to pose my friend. Pressure situation = brain fog. Another reason to learn the poses well.
They definitely aren’t perfect portraits. I see the glaringly obvious faults first, but I am happy with my first attempt and it has given me a good idea of how to set about improving. I look forward to the challenge!!
I have been looking at framing the subject using whatever is available. I have picked flowers and held them in front of the camera.
Stood behind objects to highlight something.
And looked for backgrounds to envelope the subject.
I love it. I love the effect and interest it can create. I enjoy the challenge of finding a new, more interesting way of photographing something. Isn’t photography great?!
I am a full time mum with 3 boys, 4, 2 and 0.
I have challenged myself to learn photography from scratch with no help in the 2 seconds I have free between feeding, changing and entertaining the chaos that surrounds me.
I dream of the day I can take more than a minute to locate, setup and take a shot. In the meantime, the pressure forces me to push my limitations and learn quickly.