Sunday, January 17, 2010

Being Framed (taking portraits)

Taking portraits is all about the light, and the experience. We all remember the Christmas photos taken by Auntie "Muriel" with Parkinson and the awful dim lights. You go from thinking that you look good in your christmas dress to wanting to chum down a gallon of eggnog, just to forget that horrible pictures. So what can you do to avoid awful "Auntie Muriel portraits?" Three magic words: Eyes, light and reflection. The eyes are the windows in which you can see into the soul, indeed. The best portraits are the ones where you highlight the eyes and make them reflect the light. Therefore, the reflector. 

A reflector, commonly used by many photographers reflects the light to lighten shadows, to even skin tones or reflect the light back to your eyes so you can really make them sparkle. Reflectors are usually round with a transparent circle (for shadow) a white circle (for reflecting light in a natural way) a black circle (for absorbing light) a silver or foil circle (for making sharper colder light) and a golden circle (for making warmer light).

Don´t let that happy face fool you! Really... she hates snow! Katrine gets golden in the cold winter weather using the gold side of the reflector. Notice the warmer skin tone. Be aware of that by reflecting golden light the models teeth can become more yellow looking. Even though it wasnt a problem since, Katrine has a perfect white Colgate smile be careful with the use on Coffee addicts.  To check out Katrine´s blogg click here.

Iselin gets just the extra needed sparkle in her eyes by using the white reflector. This sends the light back to the model and also evens out unflattering shadows and the look of your skin. The white reflection in your eye also gets clearer. To visit Iselins blog click Here .

Me fooling around in front of the transparent circle. Hey, put a camera in front of me and I´m bound to act awkward. Sorry... Well, this was the effect I liked best. The transparent circle just doesn´t keep out the excess light but also evens it out. A perfect tool here in Norway because of the angle of the sun. Great to bring to the beach!   
                            Last tuesday, we got to try one of these reflectors and, guess what, it really worked, hence the pictures up above! You could make the light sharper, kinder, absorb it completely or make it much more forgiving! The reflector is a very good tool for taking pictures, but you don´t have to buy an expensive one, you can use everything as a reflector. Want something to block out the light? Use an umbrella. Need to make the light reflect into the eyes of your model? Use a white piece of paper. Too much light and need some absorbing? Use a black t shirt or something similar. Of course, getting it right will take a lot of practice and I just started taking portraits. But I discovered something while I was snapping away last class. Always let your models show their personality. It makes no sense pinning a lively and energetic person up against a white wall and making them say "Cheese". The portrait has to be filled with personality and emotion to make it stand out I have yet to meet a reflector that can do that.


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