First time shooting humans, C&C please

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by yelppuppy, Jun 16, 2009.

  1. yelppuppy

    yelppuppy TPF Noob!

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    I always enjoyed photographing architecture and flowers, but recently started gaining some interests on human subjects. Of course I've taken snapshots all my life, but this is my first serious photography attempt.

    My camera is Canon EOS-20D, and the lens I used was a 50mm prime f/1.4.
    Here's an example of a shallow DOF to blur the background, but it seems to have backfired on me:
    [​IMG]

    This is an example of an in-focus background:
    [​IMG]

    In addition to C&C on those two photos, I'm can't help but wondering what's a theoretical "good" framing for portrait shots. I copied the photo below from my favorite photographer, Anna Kuperberg. Even though the subjects are small, and the background is not particularly interesting, the photo seem to tell a story. Do you agree? Can you pinpoint why this work so much better than my miserable attempt?
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2009
  2. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I like the third picture the best.

    I have always thought that a good portrait has atmosphere ... as opposed to just a good model.

    I think you should combine your portraits with your architectural/flora images.
     
  3. yelppuppy

    yelppuppy TPF Noob!

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    Sorry if I didn't make it clear. The third picture isn't my work. I was just using it as an example that the reason my photos fail isn't because they have too much background. I posted my photo in another forum earlier and that's the conclusion they gave me: too much background.

    I completely agree with you a good portrait should convey some emotion, and that can be delivered from the object itself or its surrounding. I just can't differentiate a good frame from a bad one through my camera lens. I can vaguely tell that my photos have bad framing post-processing, but i'd like to be able to "see" while shooting, not after post-processing.

    Hopefully I can get some tips here.
     
  4. Rich Ardt

    Rich Ardt TPF Noob!

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    My friend, your attempts are not miserable at all. Both of them are framed well and convey an immediately recognizable mood.

    There are no set rules for framing portraits. They could range from close-ups with the whole face filling the frame, to environmental portraits encompassing a much wider area, such as the Anna Kuperberg shot you included.

    There are guidelines for the use of lenses and angle when taking portraits, but that all depends on what it is that you want to convey.

    Anyway, the hardest part of shooting people is having them being comfortable. And it seems that you are doing a great job with that. You will learn more, as you do more and work with more different models.
     
  5. Rich Ardt

    Rich Ardt TPF Noob!

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    Your second post just came up as I posted my reply.

    Too much background they say? IMO that's absolute nonsense. With the background you have included you have conveyed a sense of place. I like it.

    All that bothers me a bit, are the strands of hair flaying in the first photo. But that is just me. Maybe a little less space above her head in the first pic. And maybe swing the camera a little bit to the right in the second. But these minor points, are as stated: minor.
     
  6. yelppuppy

    yelppuppy TPF Noob!

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    Thank you for your kind words, Rich! I got shredded to pieces at the other forum haha. I thought I was the only one that could see the mood I was trying to convey. It's good to know that I'm not alone.

    Even though I have a long way to go, sounds like I'm somewhat on the right track. For a few hours I thought "portrait" = "head shots". :confused:
     
  7. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Opps, I was not paying attention.

    I like the first better than the second.

    Use the background, Luke ...
    The background in the second seems disconnected with the model.

    How do you look at a Floral or Architectural shot ? It should be no different ...
     
  8. yelppuppy

    yelppuppy TPF Noob!

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    Yeah I like the first pic better too. The 2nd one has too much going on and doesn't add much to the subject. I suppose it's all subjective, as I got some critiques that stated the exact opposite.

    It's interesting how you raised floral or architectural shots. That is the way I approached portraits in my initial attempt. When I did floral shots (not that I had too much experience either), I liked to use the blurry background to frame the subject as well: Almaden Quicksilver - a set on Flickr
     

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