Portrait Photo Tips

For many of us, pictures of people make up the bulk of our photo collections. Use these tips to improve your portraits of family and friends in the future.

  • Get closer. A lot of portraits are taken from too far away, lessening the impact of having that particular person in the photo. Of course, since getting closer isn't always feasible, a good zoom lens can help.

  • When you're taking pictures of traveling companions, break the previous rule a bit so you can add context to the shot. Signs work well for reminding you of where and when a picture was taken, particularly if they're in other languages.

  • For candid snapshots, which are often the best kind, make sure you have enough light and just point the camera in the right direction and shoot from the hip (Figure B.7). Lots of these shots will be terrible, but the effort of tossing them is well worth the occasional amazing shot you'll get.

    Figure B.7. I took this photo while holding the camera at my waist and walking normally down the street.

  • Don't warn people in advance that you're going to take a photo unless you want forced smiles. If you need people to look at you, pre-focus your camera by pressing the shutter release button halfway, then say something to get their attention. As soon as they look at you, and before they realize you're taking a picture, press the button the rest of the way down.

  • In group photos, make everyone crunch together and overlap. The presentation is much more interesting than if everyone just lines up by height (Figure B.8).

Figure B.8. This group photo from my family reunion works well because the different levels provided by the stairs help everyone overlap neatly.

iPhoto 6 for Mac OS X. Visual QuickStart Guide
iPhoto 6 for Mac OS X
ISBN: 0321423313
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 225
Authors: Adam Engst

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