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  • The Best of

    FAMILY PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHYPROFESSIONAL TECHNIQUES AND IMAGES

    F O R D I G I T A L A N D F I L M P H O T O G R A P H E R S

    BILL HURTER Amherst Media

    PUBLISHER OF PHOTOGRAPHY BOOKS

    FAMILY PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY

  • Copyright 2006 by Bill Hurter.All rights reserved.

    Front cover photograph by Tibor Imley. Back cover photograph by Judy Host.

    Published by:Amherst Media, Inc.P.O. Box 586Buffalo, N.Y. 14226Fax: 716-874-4508www.AmherstMedia.com

    Publisher: Craig AlesseSenior Editor/Production Manager: Michelle PerkinsAssistant Editor: Barbara A. Lynch-Johnt

    ISBN: 1-58428-172-3Library of Congress Card Catalog Number: 200926586

    Printed in Korea.10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

    No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechan-ical, photocopied, recorded or otherwise, without prior written consent from the publisher.

    Notice of Disclaimer: The information contained in this book is based on the authors experience and opinions. Theauthor and publisher will not be held liable for the use or misuse of the information in this book.

  • INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5About This Book . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

    1. QUALITIES OF A GOOD FAMILY PORTRAIT . .9Flatters the Subject . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9A Coordinated Look . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10The Artists Vision . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12Rapport with Subjects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13Remembering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13Character and Emotion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13A Time Capsule . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13The Expression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14

    2.TECHNICAL ASPECTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15Lens Selection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15

    Normal Lens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15Short Telephotos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16Long Telephotos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16Wide-Angle Lenses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16

    Depth of Field . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18Camera-to-Subject Distance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18Medium Format vs. 35mm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18Optimum Shooting Apertures . . . . . . . . . . . . .18Shifting the Focus Point . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19Making the Film Plane

    Parallel to the Group Plane . . . . . . . . . . . . .19Shifting the Field of Focus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19Autofocus Technology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21

    Camera Height and Perspective . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22Shutter Speeds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24

    Image-Stabilization Lenses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24Shutter Speed or Depth of Field? . . . . . . . . . . .24

    Film Choice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26ISO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26

    Color-Negative Film . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26Black & White Film . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26

    Metering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28

    3. DIGITAL CONSIDERATIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29Focal-Length Factors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29ISO Settings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30Black & White . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31Exposure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31

    Evaluating Digital Exposures . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31LCD Playback . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32RAW vs. JPEG Mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32

    RAW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32JPEG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34

    Metadata . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35Reformat Your Cards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35Color Space . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35White Balance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36

    Wallace ExpoDisc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37Battery Power . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37The Many Advantages of Digital Capture . . . . . . .37

    4. POSING AND COMMUNICATION . . . . . . . . . .38Head-and-Shoulders Axes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39Head Positions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40

    Seven-Eighths View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40Three-Quarter View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40Profiles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40

    Defining Levels Within a Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40The Eyes and Communication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41Mouths and Eyes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43Chin Height . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45Posing Hands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45Three-Quarter and Full-Length Poses . . . . . . . . .47

    TABLE OF CONTENTS 3

    Table of Contents

  • 5. COMPOSITION AND DESIGN . . . . . . . . . . . . .49The Rule of Thirds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50The Golden Mean . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50Lines and Shapes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53

    Lines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53Shapes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53Pleasing Compositional Forms . . . . . . . . . . . . .55Direction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .55

    Subject Tone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56Tension and Balance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .60

    6. CHILDREN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61The Team Approach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65Lighting for Children . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65Some Favorite Setups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65Posing Kids . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65Overstimulation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .71Eliciting Expressions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .73The Eyes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .73Camera Height . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .73Hands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .73Three-Quarter and Full-Length Poses . . . . . . . . .74

    7. BUILDING GROUPS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .76Posing Hierarchy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .77Posing Dialogue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .77Perimeter Check . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .78Coordinating Apparel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .78

    Photographers Favorites . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .80Seating . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .80Arranging Small Groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .82

    Start with Two . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .82Add a Third . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .84Adding a Forth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .86Five on Up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .88

    Obvious Things to Avoid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .89

    Really Large Groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .90Naturalness Counts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .92Stepladders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .92Linking Shapes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .92

    8. OUTDOOR LIGHTING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .94Roundness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .94Lighting Ratios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .95

    Determining Lighting Ratios . . . . . . . . . . . . . .96Lighting Ratios and

    Their Unique Personalities . . . . . . . . . . . . . .97Finding Good Light . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .98The Best Light . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .99One Main Light . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .100Reflectors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .100Fill-In Flash . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .101Flash-Fill, Metering, and Exposure . . . . . . . . . . .102Direct Sunlight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .104Problems Outdoors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .104

    9. INDOOR LIGHTING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .107Feathering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .108Lighting a Large Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .111

    Umbrella Lighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .111Bounce Lighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .111Quartz-Halogen Lighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .111

    Window Light . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .113Subject Positioning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .114Exposure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .114Fill-In Illumination . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .115Diffusing Window Light . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .116Bounce Flash . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .116Lighting Large Groups with Bounce Flash . . .117

    The Photographers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .118Glossary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .121Index . .