Being Photogenic - ??

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by teamtoken, May 2, 2008.

  1. teamtoken

    teamtoken TPF Noob!

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    Ok, quite a different topic at hand this one, but still relevant. im new to photography, and have borrowed my friends nikon d50 for the week to play around with it and see what its like using a dslr.

    Decided to take a few self portraits of myself and couldnt help but notice that every picture i took just didnt look like the real me. i took shots a variety of shots and still just didnt look natural, even normal enough. For some reason my face looks fatter, unproportional, my nose looks bigger and face generally looks more dull & uncharacteristic to what i see in the mirror. i used my standard consumer panasonic lumix digital camera and same sort of thing. Thinking this is what i really look like i asked family what they thought and most of them agreed "you can take better shots than that"

    So im asking you good forum users, is there techniques, tips, tricks that i can make to get proper, natural self portraits. i know that when it comes to photography theres an endless amount of variables in what can make a good photo, but there must be a common technique in how to get that proper shot.

    anyhow thanks for reading my rant, any help is much appreciated. Thanks guys! :wink:
     
  2. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    perhaps show us the pics?
     
  3. Jim H

    Jim H TPF Noob!

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    Agree with prodigy that we would really need to see some captures to see what you are describing.

    So here's a WAG. You had straight on flash (no shadows or highlights - everything flattened out) and a low camera angle (if you can see up your own nose the camera was probably too low).
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Sounds like the focal length was pretty short (wide angle) and that you were too close to the camera.

    Try using a longer focal length and setting further back.
     
  5. andrew99

    andrew99 TPF Noob!

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    +1 .. my wide angle lens gives the same effect. What kind of lens is it? Can you zoom it in more and move the camera back?
     
  6. BoblyBill

    BoblyBill TPF Noob!

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    +2 That's sounds exactly what the issue is.
     
  7. Stranger

    Stranger TPF Noob!

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    I have found while learning strobes that i am reading up a lot more on how to model than i am how to use strobes LOL..

    I get bored of same old photos of myself so i figure i might as well learn to model/pose which will help me to apply the stuff to others as well.
     
  8. teamtoken

    teamtoken TPF Noob!

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    Thanks guys for your comments thus far. I agree with you all on the space of most of my self portraits, there a little too close, and yeah, lighting could be better. This is one such photo i took that im whining about. my face just looks puffy and nose looks, big, just doesent seem like a true to life image. oh and i needed a shave :lol:

    [​IMG]


    reason why im putting these questions out there is because portrait photography really appeals to me, so its great to get some hints and tips from the more seasoned photographers. i really dont want to become disenchanted about photography only because i didnt know the right techniques.

    heres one such photo that looks a lot more true to life, that was actually taken with a flash, but the space seemed to be just right (taken a further back). most of my photos ive taken with flash are almost always bad (as jim H said earlier it flattens everything out) but this seemed to be alright for some reason. and it was taken by a friend with a standard sony cybershot :confused:

    [​IMG]


    anyhow any help on this is greatly appreciated, thanks!
     
  9. deudeu

    deudeu TPF Noob!

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    Most of the time when shooting protraits you are better off using longer focal lengths, starting somewhere around 40mm and all the way up to... whatever you have room for.
    Personnally I bought a 50mm lens to use on my DSLR as a portrait lens. With the crop factor it is equivalent to a 75mm on a 35mm. That doesn't say much to me since i never really used 35mm cameras but maybe it will help you. In most cases it's fine, but sometimes i wish i had something more in the 70mm range.
    Longer lenses are good because you don't have to be in your model's face for one. And they usually have less barell distortion than the wide angle lenses. The barell distortion is what makes your face look rounder and your nose bigger than it is in real life.
    Anyways, if you have something like a 18-55 kit lens on your camera, you probably want to use it somewhere around the 40 to 55mm zone. The problem with that though is that you will then have to shoot at f5.6 (if you have a kit lens)at least and inside it will not be opened enough to effectively blur the background. If you have a faster lens you might want a larger aperture to (smaller f-stop) in order to get a nice blurry background. If you are stuck with a fairly large f-stop try to make sure your model is as far from the background as possible. Unless you want to have a nice crisp background of course.
    I might be talking gibrish right now, depending on how much you know about the technical terms.
    As far as self portraits are concerned, it would help to have a tripod. I don't even know how you can do it without one.

    PS: and if the only thing you have is the built in flash, DON'T USE IT! (but for very special occasions)
     
  10. peterbj7

    peterbj7 TPF Noob!

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    I've taken several thousand portraits with film cameras, and I usually used a lens somewhere between 80mm and 135mm. In that range the results look normal. With care you can use a longer lens and still get good results, but go much less than 50mm and you start getting visible distortion. I'm talking filwillm, so therefore FF here - for cropped sensors apply the appropriate factor.

    I have NEVER used flash for a portrait as it just flattens the profile. Proper studio lighting is fine, but not just flash. Try to get the natural lighting right instead.

    The point about effective bokah is valid as well. If you're using a lens in the focal length range that's been mentioned, try to have a neutral background rather darker than the subject some way behind.

    Although I wouldn't choose a long lens for a formal portrait, you can get very good informal portraits with a much longer lens. On film I used a zoom that went to 210, and for this was usually at say 160-210. And of course you can get a far more natural shot even if the subject knows you're taking it. Always take several at a time, so if the subject poses a bit stiffly at first, once they hear the mirror go they relax and that's when the interesting pictures can be had. I'm going to use this technique at a wedding later this year, where (thankfully) I'm not the official photographer. I may look a bit of a prat wandering around with an enormous white lens, but I'm sure the results will be worth it.
     
  11. Ejazzle

    Ejazzle TPF Noob!

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    have someone else take the pictures of you, in a natural non intended pose.
     

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