Apr 07, 2011 — 5 comments
One of the world’s most well-known portrait photographers—with a portfolio full of celebrities—gives us some invaluable advice on how to take an excellent portrait. Renowned photographer Jillian Edelstein talks about her encounter with Nelson Mandela and how he reacted to having his portrait taken while he was president.
One of several things to keep in mind is that a sleeping baby is much easier to pose and photograph than one who is awake. Cotta uses white noise as a lullaby to keep the baby from waking. You should also turn off your camera’s focus confirm beep. Most new cameras have a silent mode that reduces the burst speeds but is much quieter. If you’re working with a mirrorless system, just turn off any sounds and you’re set.
There are many ways of removing wrinkles in Photoshop, and there are even third party plugins that do the job for you. However, the goal isn’t always complete removal since that can leave your subjects looking like they came out of a cartoon.
The advantage of using a really deep parabolic umbrella in a shoot like this is that it’s, well, deep. That means you can really focus the light on your subject without spilling any of it on to the background. In this case the background had a lot of distracting elements, such as paint shifts, banners, and items that really did not add anything to the images.
For this set of portraits, Grimes placed a 36″ Rapid Box softbox over the camera and used a reflector to bounce some light back up under the model’s chin. Grimes likes using a light gray background, so he puts his subject close to the background—but not too close. Keep in mind that this exact setup can work for low key portraiture.
When using camera flash while photographing your pets, you’ve probably noticed that their eyes get color casts akin to red eye in humans. If you try to fix this in post-production the same way as you would fix human red eye, Photoshop will just desaturate and darken the area. The eyes will look washed out and awkward.
Once you have the bokeh ordeal all set up, it’s time to light up the subjects. In this case, Morgan used three lights, one of which was used to pop up the shadows—that would be the part that receives the least amount of light but it generates the definition and detail in the shot.
More than anything else, it was the story and social commentary of the image (in addition to its beauty and composition, of course), that made this photo the grand prize winner of this year’s contest.
Sometimes we forget that we live in a, technologically speaking, very astounding time to be a photographer. The way modern cameras function is nothing short of magic. Unassuming yet mind numbingly complex, autofocusing cameras are somewhat of a miracle in optical engineering.
For those who don’t know, the “magic hour” is that part of the day when the sun is rising or setting. Most landscape photographers wait for this time of the day in order to get better results in their landscape shots.
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