The Essence Of Portrait Photography

People love to take portraits. A portrait is a captured likeness of the subject, in this case a person, especially their face. Portrait photography however has deeper a connotation than that, being understood as a superior quality image, capturing the individual's physical likeness, their character on a digital or film camera's sensor. It is also understood that portrait photography produces pleasing and attractive results to the person being the subject. Character revelation is the focus of portrait photography. At least one element of the subject must be shown in the photo. Elements may include the subject's attitude, personality, unique mannerisms, and any other
traits or features that shape the very unique nature of the person. The portrait photograph tells the viewer something that suggests of the subject's individuality. It is often times that a viewer expresses agreeableness that the photographer really captured the subject's likeness, in which may be referred to as their exact physical likeness. However, what one is consciously saying about them is that the photo reveals something that is
very identifiable of the character of the subject. Portrait photography therefore is not mere capturing of the image likeness, but arresting the true character deeply formed in the subject; a task that can be challenging as photographers as they may never have known the subject before.

Digital photography is a form of photography that uses an array of electronic photo detectors to capture the image focused by the lens, as opposed to an exposure on photographic film. The captured image is then stored as a computer file ready for digital processing, viewing, digital publishing or printing.

Each creation of photography goes through some technical terms. Some rules, some optical terms. 
We have two era for photography one is film era and the second one is digital era, as of today. We have no idea what is going to be invented in the coming years..
So we are discussing about the modern era or the Digital era of photography. When digital camera came into the world, we reached the world of previews and recomposing the same photography. When we were in the age of film photography the thing was too costly, and it was too sensitive. Once we clicked, the film get exposed to the light, if the image was not as proper as we designed, we have only one option to throw the negatives away, but now we can preview what are we going to capture before we click the shutter button. That is the first advantage of digital photography.
Aperture/Shutter Speed/ISO and Exposure these are the most effective things which decides the quality of the creativity. Now in digital cameras such as Point and Shoot, Cameras on Mobile devices or Even DSLRs have these adjustments facility inbuilt in those. When we are technically perfect, when we are experienced enough to measure the light, speed of object (if moving) or the amount of reflection from the object, color of your foreground,mid-ground and background. You can shine as a good photographer. 

 I am feeling crazy sometimes, when am with my camera. I have never used a DLSR, but its every photographer's dream to have one good DSLR. When I walk with my camera, I feel that everything around me are good frames, but I am being disappointed when the lighting isn't  coming fine... I love to click outdoor, especially the nature around me than portraits or indoors, cos I know, am not good at portraits. But a good photographer could be doing all these.. Whatever may be his camera, situation, atmosphere, or anything, he would make sharp snaps.. That is what we call inborn talent.

Two days back, I went into a fest, with full of light, and outdoor event, clicked some snaps, which are listed in two segments in this site, one as Infofest 2012 and the other one is People.

I was crazy all these times, clicked many, but most of them would came fine with the subject. But I felt there are something to say "ok!", but could have been even better, I always think like that whenever I see any photograph clicked by me. This is the time I go crazy and try to make it better from different angle, shutter speed and aperture.

I am working on to do better, to do more, to do better...
Depth of field is the amount of distance between the nearest and farthest objects that appear in acceptably sharp focus in a photograph. A preferred selection Depth of field ("DOF") in a focused subject in an image can be quite subjective. Remember this, adequate selection of DOF for one situation, application may be unacceptable for another photographer. It is all a matter of personal preference when trying to determine the appropriate use of DOF to enhance an effect in a photograph.

 In simpler term, we define depth of field as the zone of sharpest focus in front of, behind, and around the subject on which, when lens is focused on a specific subject; with TTL (through the lens) SLR camera, DOF can be previewed in the viewfinder of a camera - the preview is very handy for critical type of work. For an example, when taking a product shot, when you require absolute certain if DOF is adequate to cover the object you intend to photograph Generally, the closer the subject to the camera, the more evenly with the distribution of depth of field in front and behind the subject. As distance of focus extends, DOF usually will be more behind than in front of the focused area. 

The absolute best way to improve as a photographer is to DO photography – get out and shoot. A great way to push yourself into better photos is by concentrating on one subject over a period of time. Each time you photograph your subject, whether its a person, plant, place or thing, find a new way to photograph it. It could be from a different angle, different time of day, different light – whatever you can do to see the subject in a new way.

For this lesson, pick something near by you can photograph on a regular basis. It could be: your car, your cat, your “significant other”, your guitar, what you see while walking through the neighbourhood, objects that look like numbers, rusty objects, etc.

Anything that you like to look at.

Every day for the next 10 days take some pictures of it. Look for different ways of seeing the same subject. Place your subject in different places, different light situations, try some of the different exercises in composition – find an S curve in the subject, or place your subject into an S curve, same with diagonal lines, etc. Just keep shooting and learning about the same subject.

What you learn from this simple exercise will carry through into most things you shoot.
(Object in Photo)

The Rule of Trends
Simply put, the rule of thirds helps you to get maximum impact in your photos by making sure you fill the image with interesting things. It consists of a 3×3 grid and the aim is to fill up as much of the grid as you can. Now I’m not saying there absolutely has to be something going on in every single part of the grid but as a general rule it will make your photos better.

A simple technique I use is to get a photo I’ve taken and overlay it with a 3×3 grid. I then count how much of the grid I’ve filled up. I normally use MS PowerPoint and overlay the photo with a 3×3 table but of course you can use any other software package that you’re comfortable with, or you can even print the image and use tracing paper for your grid instead.


Balancing can be used alongside the Rule of Thirds to produce photos that are just that little bit different. We’re all used to taking photos where we try to get the focus in the centre of the image. The balancing technique puts this focus somewhere else, and at the same type adds some other interesting elements to the image.

View Point and Angles

You might have heard the quote “fail to plan, plan to fail”. It’s normally used in business to demonstrate the importance of planning.
If you take a car manufacturer – it doesn’t just build cars – a lot of design, development and testing goes on in the background before it even gets to the production line. Those same principles apply to photography.

Before taking your shot take a quick look around. Think about your audience and how they’ll see the photo. Do you want a shot taken at eye-level, down below, from the left or right, or from an elevated viewpoint? Each angle or viewpoint will give the audience a completely different perspective of the photo.

Backgrounds can make or break a photo. You can have the most amazing focal point of your image but something distracting in the background can cause the whole photo to fail. I’ve seen many a photo fail because of an exit sign or other distracting element in the background.

If you can move around do it – if you can get your subject to move even better. Some people of course prefer to Photoshop the bad bits out later. My advice to you is concentrate on getting the perfect photo first time every time. I can guarantee you’ll become a better photographer for it. Only if you’ve tried your best and it’s impossible because of something outside your control should you turn to Photoshop.


What is Depth? It’s a way to make photos look more real – to make them stand out a bit. Our eyes can make out objects at different distances quite easily but in photos it can be quite challenging.

The trick is to take a photo which has objects or elements at different distances and make people believe what you saw when you took the photo.

Framing lets you to take a photo where you have so much going on but the focus is on 1 or 2 areas of the photo. 
Final words (for this article at least) – don’t be afraid to experiment

In the age of digital photography you can click away without thinking about huge photo developing costs. Compare photos taken at different angles, with different depths and different backgrounds to become the best photographer that you can be.
Happy snapping!
Mo Azam is a professional photographer  based in the UK.

How to Use Point of View to Improve Your Photos  
By Liz Masoner,

Point of view in photography simply means the position from which the camera sees the scene. Are you looking down on the subject? Are you looking up at the subject? How close are you to the subject? Is there anything between you and the subject? Every decision you make about point of view will change how your viewer sees the photo.

Regardless of what point of view you chose when taking a photo, remember the power of juxtaposition. Shooting a subject from an "unexpected" angle will have more impact than the viewing angle encountered in every day life. For example, looking up at an ant will have much more visual impact than looking down on an ant. Or an eye-level shot of a bird is much more powerful than looking up a bird in a tree.

Becoming the Subject
A powerful point of view is becoming the subject. This means that you shoot the photo from the angle of the subject. For example, a shot of surgery shown as though you were looking through the surgeon's eyes (patient and surgeon's hands visible but not the surgeon's face/body). These shots allow the viewer to feel like they are experiencing the event first hand.

Shooting From Eye Level
Shooting a photo from eye level of the subject is the quickest way to help your viewers connect emotionally with a photo subject. By literally putting the subject on "their level" you create an instinctual response because usually only other people of the same age are at roughly eye level with a person. This means that our instinctual response to a subject of eye level is to personify that subject even if it is not human.

As you can see from the hawk photo on the right, shooting at eye level also allows you to see more of the subject than shooting downward or upward (or even from the side) would allow. This straight-on angle also helps to prevent distortion caused by perspective or angle of view.

Shooting from Below
When you shoot a photo from below a subject can make the viewer feel as though the subject is in control of a situation. The simple act of looking up at a subject/object can impart a loss of control or the idea that the object is unobtainable. This has been used in real world situations throughout history. For example, thrones are set higher than other chairs, judges sit on a podium, and executive desks are just a bit taller than normal desks. The low shooting angle can also give the illusion of being inside the frame if the angle is severe enough.

Like almost everything in photography, this goes back to our instinctual reactions to situations. In a forest of tall trees we feel small looking up. As a child we must obey our larger parents. Shooting with an upwards angle allows us to tap into this instinctive response.

Shooting from Above
Shooting from above a subject allows the viewer to feel superior to the subject or feel protective of the subject. It can also give the viewer the impression that they are the object of the attention of the subject in the photo, as though it was the viewer placed on a stage (like in the example photo below). If the stage or "place on a pedestal" effect is achieved, the viewer will often feel adversarial towards the subject.





Film speed is the measure of a photographic film's sensitivity to light, determined by sensitometry and measured on various numerical scales, the most recent being the ISO system.

A closely related ISO system is used to measure the sensitivity of digital imaging systems.

Relatively insensitive film, with a correspondingly lower speed index requires more exposure to light to produce the same image density as a more sensitive film, and is thus commonly termed a slow film. Highly sensitive films are correspondingly termed fast films.

In both digital and film photography, the reduction of exposure corresponding to use of higher sensitivities generally leads to reduced image quality (via coarser film grain or higher image noise of other types). In short, the higher the sensitivity, the grainier the image will be.

The ASA and DIN film speed standards have been combined into the ISO standards since 1974.

The current International Standard for measuring the speed of color negative film is ISO 5800:2001[16] (first published in 1979, revised in November 1987) from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Related standards ISO 6:1993[14] (first published in 1974) and ISO 2240:2003[15] (first published in July 1982, revised in September 1994, and corrected in October 2003) define scales for speeds of black-and-white negative film and color reversal film, respectively.

The determination of ISO speeds with digital still-cameras is described in ISO 12232:2006 (first published in August 1998, revised in April 2006, and corrected in October 2006).

The ISO system defines both an arithmetic and a logarithmic scale.[35] The arithmetic ISO scale corresponds to the arithmetic ASA system, where a doubling of film sensitivity is represented by a doubling of the numerical film speed value. In the logarithmic ISO scale, which corresponds to the DIN scale, adding 3° to the numerical value constitutes a doubling of sensitivity. For example, a film rated ISO 200/24° is twice as sensitive as one rated ISO 100/21°.[35]

Commonly, the logarithmic speed is omitted; for example, "ISO 100" denotes "ISO 100/21°",[36] while logarithmic ISO speeds are written as "ISO 21°" as per the standard.

Courtesy :  Wikipedia
First, we’ll talk a little bit about aperture also known as f-stop

A small number in f-stop means more light and a larger number will be less light. This is the circular opening inside the lens that’s adjustable and regulates how much light goes through the lens and hits the sensor.

Basically, it’s a hole in the lens that you can control by adjusting it smaller or bigger. Very little light gets to the sensor if it is a small hole. On the opposite end a big hole, the lens becomes like an open fire hydrant with light pouring through it. Think of it like your faucet in the kitchen sink. A quarter of a turn and the water is just dribbling out, small hole aperture. Open the faucet all the way and the water comes rushing out, big hole aperture. If you understand your cameras capabilities and the basics of photography, the quality of the images you take will increase greatly.

Next let’s talk about exposure. Both aperture and exposure really go hand in hand when we are talking about the basics of photography. Exposure is how much light hits the sensor and the length of time. Two things a photographer has control of. A few terms you’ll hear all the time is “bad exposure” “good exposure” “under exposed” and “over exposed.” Exposure is the amount of time it took your camera to capture the image, plus the amount of light it allowed in. As an example, I would say that, “I shot that at 1/60th at f/5.6 and ISO 400.”

Alright: The 1/60th is 1/60th of a second. This is the shutter speed. Shutter speed is how fast your camera shutter opens and closes. A quick way to understand the shutter speed is to look at your camera. The higher the number the faster the shutter speed the lower the number the lower the shutter speed. Fast speeds are usually 1/250th of a second on up to 1/8000th of a second. These types of fast shutter speeds are mostly used in brighter conditions. Darker environments need slower speeds, ranging from 1/30th of a second or so all the way to 10 seconds or more. One thing to consider when you are taking photos at the longer shutter speeds is camera shake, so you may want to consider a tripod or practice a steady hand. I hope these examples are making it clear why you need to know the basics of photography.

Celebrity photography is challenging and the same time an exciting, glamorous field. When you deal with celebrities, firstly you have very little time to work within. There is always a time constraint even after you pin down a celebrity for a photo session. You have to therefore have good infrastructure and be ready with the necessary equipment. You have to plan the shot and adjust your camera, before asking your celebrity to pose.

Celebrity faces are well known so the key lies in attempting to capture something a little different, to create a different perspective. You need to build a good rapport with the celebrity and have to persevere to get the right mood to capture the real essence of the person. If you are photographing the celebrity for an ad, then the strategy behind the ad has to be considered to blend in the celebrity’s expressions and posture to suit the requirements of the ad.

To sum up, the discussion – Wildlife photography requires you to brave rough conditions and thoroughly understand the habitat and behavior of the animal. The relevant and useful tools in your camera system are the right lenses and center-weighted metering if you are into shooting wildlife. Landscape photography requires you to be a wandering explorer, constantly seeking out those spectacular scenic settings. You mainly need wide-angle lenses in your camera system to demonstrate depth and scale in your picture. Sports events need a good vantage point and if you want to freeze the high action in the game, you have to learn and hone the skill of panning. Photojournalism calls on your social and political consciousness and is the art of visually unfolding a story, while Fashion photography requires ideation and out-of-the-box thinking. The impact of Black & White treatment can be heightened during the processing phase using various techniques and, Celebrity photography is not a!

ll glamour. Capturing the right mood and the essence of the celebrity becomes the key to a good shot and you often work within time constraints.

It is apparent that different photography streams each have their own specialized approaches and style of treatment. Your mind-set and your interests should influence the path that you choose as a photographer.

Photographer : Michael Muller


    Behind the picture...

    Mahesh Babu, a newbie to the world of photography from Kannur District in Kerala State of India. His gadget is Canon 550D. trying to   do something with the resources he has to explore the beauty of life and livings..


    October 2012
    September 2012
    August 2012



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