As far as I can tell it is simple really. Powerful portraits are about connection. Connection to the camera or connection between the subjects.
Tonight I went out a bit later. About 1/2 and hour later. I walked to 4 different locations in close proximity to each other. Varying results again. The sun drops so fast. I suppose that should be taken into consideration when thinking out the plan. I also think that the amount of sunlight getting into my camera is causing it to struggle to focus?? An additional thought: baby’s are hungry, tired and not into sitting for portraits at golden hour. I will need more experiments. These are from tonight’s haul.
Well last night I took my baby on an excursion (again!). The idea was to work out at exactly which point in the skythe sun would be best for evening portraits or at least how it differed as the light changed. I was looking for how it affected my camera and its settings and of course the composition. I started way too early. I had harsh sun, my camera struggled and the sun flare was crazy intense. I managed to semi salvage a few photos. These are a couple.
I will try again tonight.
But only if its good light.
I finally decided to get myself some lights. I am only really able to do anything, unless someone is looking after my children, at night. Enough said. I had resisted getting lights because so many photos I see look ‘studioish’. You know what I mean. Hotspot here, too dark there, flat, shadow in distracting spot. The list goes on. I have no idea why I decided to become obsessed with photography? It must be the most complicated obsession around. Anyway, I set up my lights last night. I am interested in newborn portraits so I had a go. I didn’t have a newborn. I had to use a teddy. I also wasn’t happy with the placement of lights in the beginning. In the end I had one with a softbox facing the front of the bear and one without anything aimed at the ceiling, then used a reflector (balanced on my head due to lack of assistant!) to reduce the shadows I didn’t like and to introduce a catch light in the eyes. I had to use an ND filter as the lights were too bright for the space. Obviously this is going to need to be refined if it is going to be workable, but I am reasonably happy with my first effort.
Behold, the bear!
It may surprise you to know that babies aren’t always cute, cheeky, happy little cherubs.
What mother has not seen this face?
This face happens daily. It may be because he has had enough of sitting in one place. He may want to be picked up. He may not be able to reach the toy that is tantalisingly just out of reach. He may have tried to move toward it, only to find he went backward! He may… a million things.
He is my son. I cherish this face as much as the others he makes.
I want to remember it when I look back.
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.