Influences Google TV photographers and photography

Portrait photography

Welcome to the "Portrait Photography" channel at FotoTV.!

Portrait photography (portrait photography), photographing one person (sometimes several), is one of the classic genres of photography, and it is one that polarizes photographers: either they love portrait photography or they avoid portraits. This may be due to the fact that the “subject” has a certain expectation of the result - in contrast to landscape, architecture or street photography, for example - and you have to deal with the reaction of the person portrayed. This is exactly where the challenge of portrait photography lies: You have to master the manual part and communicate with people, meet expectations and find your own style.

1. Different types of portraits
2. The equipment
3. The location
4. The light
5. Take pictures of people
6. Your own style
7. Image processing
8. Films for portrait photography at FotoTV.

Different types of portraits

Portraits can be classified according to their purpose or content as well as according to their point of view. The well-known sub-genres of the portrait are

  • Business (application photo, headshot, etc.)
  • Beauty portrait
  • Character portrait
  • Baby and child photography
  • abstract and surreal portraits

There are of course other types of images that depict people, but photography has dedicated chapters to them (nudes, fashion, people, weddings, etc.). Many understand a portrait to be a photo of a face, but of course the portrait doesn't end there. There are

  • Face image / head image
  • Bust / shoulder piece
  • Chest piece / cleavage cut
  • Waist image
  • Hip cut
  • Knee cut
  • Full body picture

It's worth experimenting with the different cuts. A distinction is made between the facial views

  • En face, frontal view
  • Quarter profile / three-quarter portrait
  • Half profile
  • Three-quarter profile
  • Full profile
  • lost profile,

depending on how far the face rotates from the camera. A frontal shot can appear very massive, but on the other hand it can hide prominent noses. Quarter and half profile can bring depth into the picture and emphasize chocolate sides, whereby both eyes should still be recognizable. In the lost profile, on the other hand, the focus is often on the hands or follows the gaze of the person portrayed. If you go through all the variants, you can sometimes get very exciting recordings that you didn't expect at first. So a little system does not hurt. As part of a FotoTV challenge, photos of a foodball player should be taken. You can see very well how differently the photographers approached this task:


What do you need for portrait photography?
The basic equipment is of course a camera and lens. There is no such thing as one lens for every situation. Basically, one tries to capture the proportions of a face as naturally and attractively as possible, which works well with a focal length in the normal to telephoto range. 80mm to about 105mm focal lengths
are therefore often viewed as perfect portrait lenses and make a face appear slimmer. At this point, however, I would like to point out that 50 mm is always 50 mm - even with a camera with a crop factor of 1.5, this does not result in a 75 mm lens. Wide-angle lenses (as well as extreme telephoto focal lengths) change the proportions of a face in the photo. But you can also work in the wide-angle range, as you can include the environment and create interesting character portraits. As always, the recommendation is for fast lenses in order to be able to work with an open aperture. Especially in portrait photography, a shallow depth of field helps to draw the eye to the model. Depending on the lighting situation, it is advisable to have a clip-on flash, light shapers and reflectors with you. Solutions in the lower price segment are already sufficient to have a beneficial effect on the light. The whole range of flash heads and light shapers is available in the studio. Starting with simple setups with one light up to complex settings with several light sources and different light shapers, you can work your way forward step by step. Bert Stephani is a great (portrait) photographer and grants a glimpse into his photo bag, which he had consistently cleaned up beforehand:

The location

The photo location affects the shoot and the results in several ways. With a neutral background, it doesn't matter whether it is a house wall, the sky or a studio background. As soon as the scenery becomes the content of the picture, for example a craftsman is to be shown in his workshop or an athlete practicing his sport, it is time to clean up the picture: Disturbing details are removed before the photograph is taken and interesting objects are brought close to the person being portrayed . An interesting location always offers a whole range of perspectives and possibilities or even light situations. You shouldn't be satisfied with the yield too quickly. Thomas Adorff likes to take photos on location and explains how you can use each place for yourself:

The light

Natural light

A large window - if possible not cleaned for a long time - usually provides nice, diffuse light. If you position your model at the window, you usually have the best conditions for a beautiful portrait with fine side light and highlights in the eyes. Depending on the light situation in the rest of the room, the use of a reflector is now required. A folding reflector with different surfaces should be available for every photographer anyway. With the silvery side, a maximum yield of light can be achieved, the gold-colored surface generates warm light. With the white side, the reflection is milder, the black side reduces the incidence of light on the face and can thereby increase the contrast between two halves of the face. This is particularly effective with male portraits. You can quickly see good illumination if you look at the shadow of your nose: it should be as soft as possible.
Nina Schnitzenbaumer presents three very simple settings with window light - definitely suitable for beginners!

Successful portraits on the window are also presented by Bert Stephani:

If that's not enough of nature for you: Mike Larson goes to the beach and has his own ideas for using the light for himself.

In the studio

Creativity is required in the studio. You can work with a high frontal light and a reflector and thus imitate the situation outdoors. Behind it, however, are the lighting setups that you cannot find in the great outdoors. With several light sources and the corresponding light shapers, you are free in your options. If you are taking photos in the studio for the first time, you should take a patient model or good friend with you, because the technology will completely absorb you at first. A good tip is to look for tried and tested set-ups and reproduce them. It is also recommended to look at great portraits and try to reconstruct the light setting from the photo. There are tons of guides and graphics of lighting set-ups. It doesn't have to be the big professional studio - a home studio can be set up quickly and just as quickly disappeared back into the closet. If you want to try it out, Martin Krolop explains how it works:

In the studio you can feel the portrait light of some painters wonderfully. Rüdiger Schestag demonstrates it using the example of the Renaissance:

Photographing people

The expectation

When you use a professional model, you can concentrate fully on your own photographic ideas. It's nice when the model loves the pictures and recommends you, but it's of secondary importance. You have to approach things completely differently when you work on behalf of your portrait clients. First of all, when presenting your work - on your own website or in another form - you should make sure that your own style is clearly visible and that the customer already knows what look to expect. The more precisely you position yourself in this regard, the sooner
you get the customers who also suit you and who can already assess the result of a shoot. The second step is to precisely query and question the wishes of the portrait customers. You can also have pictures shown that show the desired style,
and photos in which the people to be photographed like themselves well. It's faster than a verbose description - and above all, it's easier to imagine. When taking photos, you can quickly make sure that you are on the right track: after a few shots, you show the pictures and get your first reactions. This creates trust and, in case of doubt, you can still work on it if the customer does not like it yet. Stephen Petrat developed a five-step workflow for his portrait shoot, which enables him to work quickly, but above all ensures a relaxed atmosphere for everyone involved.

Bert Stephani knows how to build a decent portfolio even as a beginner:

Dennis Weissmantel reveals a few tricks on how to build a good relationship with your models:

For Jérôme Gravenstein, too, communication with those portrayed is the key to great pictures:


Which pose should the portrayed take in order to look as good as possible? To look imposing, personable or just a little slimmer? There are a few tricks that are as simple as they are powerful. Sometimes it is enough to turn one shoulder backwards so that it does not appear disproportionately large, or to straighten up and breathe in. For the beginning it is important that the person being portrayed feels comfortable in front of the camera and does not have to concentrate too much on his posture. If you seem a bit shy in front of the camera, you can let them talk about their favorite topic - it almost always works. Sometimes
it is enough to address the topic (which you have already figured out in the preliminary talk) to get a spontaneous and happy reaction. Anyone who really dedicates themselves to portrait photography should deal more intensively with the subject of posing, not with learning poses by heart, but with understanding cause and effect. A few standing poses to warm you up:

Your own style

Every photo is a portrait - including landscape or architecture photographs. As the? Every photo can be seen as a portrait of the photographer who reveals something of himself in every shot. Your own style is not static, it is constantly evolving over the course of a photographer's life - and yet a certain handwriting will always be recognizable. For professionals, a clear photographic profile is always a trademark and therefore a competitive advantage. But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't experiment and try yourself out all the time. Anyone who has a patient or curious model can play with situations, locations, image composition, poses, lighting or accessories. Unexpected effects can be achieved in portraits with simple colored foils. Felix Rachor shows how it is done.

image editing

Basic retouching

Portrait photography needs post-processing like any other photo. In the basic processing, therefore, one does not lay hands on the appearance of the portrayed. You fine-tune the white balance, perhaps reduce the contrast a little, optimize the exposure and create the desired look using appropriate filters or the gradation curves. Even those who want an authentic portrait can eliminate temporary appearances such as skin blemishes. This works quickly and easily with the repair brush, you should just change the source point again and again. Calvin Hollwood has shot an entire course in portrait retouching. Here are the basic editing steps in Camera Raw (Lightroom and Photoshop):

Flawless retouching

Beauty or flawless retouching is about the perfect impression, even if this means eliminating lived life from the photo and creating a barely achievable ideal. Now at the latest the liquefying filter is used to straighten noses or to give the eyebrow the perfect curve. With the frequency separation, pores can be refined and stains can be magically removed as well as shiny spots. Dodge and burn, on the other hand, does what is known as contouring when applying make-up: By lightening and darkening, parts of the face come to the fore, others into the background. The face looks plastic and attractive. How far you go in beauty retouching naturally depends on the wishes of the customer and your own attitude. In the following episodes of his retouching course, Calvin Hollywood goes into the details:

A few quick tips for portrait photography:

  • Focus on the eyes. If the eyes are at different distances from the camera, focus on the eye that is closest to the camera.
  • Photograph people at eye level. To represent power, you can take a little photo from below, but really only a touch. From a higher position, we only recommend pictures that are intended to capture an entire scene.
  • Make sure you have a well-fitting hairstyle, nothing is more difficult to correct in post-processing than the hair. A brush belongs in the camera bag.
  • Use accessories that match the person being portrayed - be it a hat, jewelry, a book, an instrument, a cup or another object.
  • Hands off face. For pictures with hands draped in or on the face, one should have a lot of knowledge of the subject of posing.
  • Portraits of women benefit from a slight overexposure, as this makes the skin appear softer and finer-pored. Male portraits tolerate contours and contrast.