10 Ways to take Portraits

  1. Alter your Perspectives

Sometimes you can try to alter your perspectives to get another feeling of the shots, special angle for special objects usually create a different effect or different feeling.

2. Play with eye contact

Eye contact is important for a photograph, try to alter your object’s eye contact could make the picture much better than you thought. Also, Eye looking off the camera can create a feeling of the object looking at somewhere interesting, and in that way, we could form a focus point.

3. Break the rule of Composition

Not all pictures have to follow the rules of composition, sometimes breaking the rule can somehow create a better effect for the picture, whether it’s making the picture more interesting or it’s making the picture more attracting.

4. Experiment with lighting

Another technique of portraits is to use the lighting, lighting can be a great source of the focus point and it naturally creates a frame for the objects. Or u can use the randomness of lighting to create a unity of the object.

5. Move your object out from the comfort zone

Each object has their comfort zone, and if the photograph makes them be out of their “zone”, it usually can create a funny, surprising effect. Within this technique, you won’t get any amazing shots, but the photograph will be funny and memorable.

6. Shoot Candidly

In this way, the shots are usually random, you have to know how to get shots from the one moment. To do this, you just have to do a lot of random shots, and some of them will turn out extremely good.

7. Introduce a Prop

This is the way of adding another focus point to ur photograph and can make a balance between the main object. Usually, the other focus point is close to the main focal point and they are attached to each other. Careful to not misinterpret the importance of two objects.

8. Get close up

If you get right close to ur object, it will create a different feeling, because this can leave an imagination of what the other parts of the body look like.

9. Obscure parts of your subject

Similar to Get close up, for this, you will be using stuff to cover parts of your objects. This creates a sense of imagination and also the beauty of mystery.

10. Take a series of shots

By doing this, you create a series of images that could be presented together instead of just one static image. This way of taking pictures can create good unity and it’s good to take it with children since they like to move around all the time.

Cyanotype Blog Post

During last week, we did Cyanotype as our activity, and it was very fun and practical to use. Cyanotype picture has a long history where you can find it back in 1842. The English scientist and astronomer Sir John Herschel discovered the procedure. And it soon becomes a good way of editing pictures into another style, even though it was designed originally to simply get the picture.

Cyanotypes require special chemicals and steps to achieve, and here is the step:

Mixing chemicals
The cyanotype is made up of two simple solutions.

  • Potassium ferricyanide and Ferric ammonium citrate (green) are mixed with water separately.
  • The two solutions are then blended together in equal parts.

Preparing the canvas

  • Paper, card, textiles or any other naturally absorbent material is coated with the solution and dried in the dark.

Printing the cyanotype

  • Objects or negatives are placed on the material to make a print. The cyanotype is printed using UV light, such as the sun, a light box or a UV lamp.

Processing and drying

  • After exposure, the material is processed by simply rinsing it in water. A white print emerges on a blue background.
  • The final print is dried and admired.

I really enjoyed making cyanotype pictures because it really gives me another feeling of photograph, cyanotype transfer pictures to another style and it was really helpful for me to get some old picture back to what it was or making new pictures into an old style.

Challenges appear during the making process, sometimes the color is too dark, and sometimes the chemical isn’t enough.

However, there are some tips that could help you. First, brash the chemical carefully. Second, hide the paper without lighting carefully to make it dry.


Hutong Field Trip ISB Blog Post

During October 26th, we went to NaLuoGuXiang Hutong as our very first digital imagery trip!

The trip was super fun, we did a lot of stuff and tried many different method of taking street photography pictures. One thing I enjoy the most about the trip would be the lunch. During that period, we were all starving after the 3 hour long morning exploreation, and we took another 30 minutes to find the way to the restaurant, so by the time we were finally there, all I wanted was food. And the food there was amazing, we really had a good time with that.

Pretty all the techniques works while I was taking shots using them, and the picture turns out good looking. The most successful two techniques are panning and different perspective. In order to get good shots, I always have to adjust my Manual 101, so that it fits the environment where I am taking shots, always, do not care about your storage, take as much as possibility, and some of them will be wonderful.

One thing surprised me the most during the trip was the life of Hutong people, I used to believe they are just a bunch of boring people who sees their house more important than their life and fighting against the government. However, I was wrong, the Hutong people lives in a lively environment, they always have groups activities together, playing sports and so on. That really changes the meaning of Hutong people for me.

One thing challenge for me during the trip was to always adjust my camera. For example, when I just looked a slow shutter speed shot, and there is a wonderful reflection shots that I can take in 5 meters, I will just go there without changing any setting and take the photo, when I got back from the trip, I realized that many of the photos are blurred since I didn’t manage the setting.

One new idea about photography from the trip was the concept of live. In there past, I mainly focused on non-living object, which is ok but sometimes it makes my picture missing something, and that was movement. By adding alive object, the photo will be more realistic and having more element.  And that is also the most important thing I learned from the field trip.

Aperture collage

I believe aperture’s role is to control the focus area of a picture and the exposure to lights. In the exposure triangle, I believe aperture is the most important because it directly controls the quality of the picture you are taking and it will also affect the object you are focused on.

when you only want to focus one object, you should use low aperture, when it’s the whole background with you standing in the front, you should be using a higher aperture.

When the aperture is too low, you need to care because you can’t really focus on any other object when it’s high, the picture quality won’t be that good.

So, you have to adjust the ISO when it’s high, also the shutter speed to slower, when it’s low, you should adjust the ISO and raise the shutter speed.

If I understand the role of aperture, I can easily make a difference when taking different object pictures.

ISO collage


In my opinion, ISO means the exposure to light, which is also the sensitivity to light in the picture.   In the exposure triangle, ISO plays a role of controlling the light. You can say ISO is super important just like the other two, and you must adjust all three of the exposure triangle to take a good picture.

when the place you’re at a dark place, you should use higher ISO instead of the lower one, but normally, when you’re outside and it’s a sunny day, you should better use lower ISO to take a picture.

If you use higher ISO on a sunny day, the disadvantage of ISO will appear, in the picture you took, there will probably be a lot of small dots in it that makes the whole picture unclear.

By understanding how ISO works, this will help me with my manual mode using because I can better adjust the lighting in a picture. Also, my picture will be more clear and pure if I use ISO well.


1 object/30 times

For this assignment, we were asked to choose an object on your own and take 30 different photographs with it on a different element, principles, and different skills.

The purpose of this assignment is to let us see how would the composition in a photograph matter, and how can we learn how to compose the object in a picture by using different elements.

It is important to understand the composition guideline because you must understand the rule of composition first and then you can have a deeper analysis of the photograph. In order to perfectly put an element in a picture with an object, you need to learn how to do it first.

The most challenging part of this assignment is to find 30 different picture that each shows a different theme, there was one time that I just couldn’t find any good idea on how to place the object, and it really needs some knowledge to place the object in a good way.

I have two big takeaway on this project. First, compare to me before, now I can use the principle of emphasis very well, and whether you like it or not, I love the picture that used the principle of emphasis. Second, I learned a lot of other ways to compose the object in a picture, such as reflection, the rule of odd and so on. These composition skills are super cool and they make the picture wonderful.

The Principles of Design

The principles of design teach how to organize elements in a picture.

Balance is the distribution of visual weight of objects, color, texture or space. Ther the are symmetrical balance, asymmetrical balance and redial balance.

Emphasis is the design where in a photograph, there is a focal point that caught the viewer’s eye.

Movement is the path or the actual move in a picture.pattern is when the object is repeating over and over again to make a sense of art.

Pattern is when the object is repeating over and over again to make a sense of art.

Rhythm appeared when an object is repeated and it creates a sense of organized movement.

Variety and Unity are basically, use different elements in one photograph and use only one object in the picture and show it clearly.

Contrast, the contrast between value and tone.


The principles of design are helpful when learning how to discuss or critique photography is because you can easily divide a photograph into several different sections, to show which section shows what principles or not. On the other hand, you can also check if the author knows how to use the principles of design in their picture in order to criticize their art work.

I learned that a good photograph is made of, at least 1 principle of design, and to be better, you always need to use them and practice.

The photograph above is my favorite photo through out this activity. This picture focused on the principle of Emphasis, I put my focus on one of the handles, and made other handles blurry, and it just creates a sense of emphasis on that one handle I focused on. The elements used in the picture are line and value. For line, you can easily see the line above and on the ground, that create balance to the picture. For value, it creates the blurry effects on the picture and it’s really cool.

The Burning House Project

  • NAME: Alex. W
  • AGE: 14
  • LOCATION: Beijing
  • OCCUPATION: Student
  • WEB: https://space.bilibili.com/14248134/#!/
  • Item list:
    •  Longboard(白泽)
    • Tokyo Ghoul GK
    • Headphone
    • Wallet
    • Hot wheels car launcher
    • Portable Charger

These are the things I really like and I am definitely going to take them with me. First of all, when I was a kid, I love to play around with those hot wheels car model, and that launcher was my favorite, somehow you can say that launcher represents my childhood. For the three two electronic devices, they are just parts of my life, I use headphone every day when I get home, I can’t really focus on homework if I can’t listen to music. On the other hand, the portable charger is important because I can’t really charge my phone anymore after my house was burned, so a portable charger is needed. For the longboard, I got it a few months ago, and it’s a great tool to transport within middle distance, sometimes the speed of 白泽 can easily reach 50/60 Km per hour, and it’s really cool. Lastly, for my wallet, it just has everything in it, and I can not afford to lost it.

The Elements of Arts

The elements of arts are elements that show in part of the picture or the whole. People often use the elements of Arts to make a comparison on a photograph to determine whether if it’s a good one or not. Elements of Arts include 7 different types of elements. They are Lines, Shape, Form, Space, Color, Texture and Value. Each element show some of the aspects of a photograph. Lines are defined by lines moving in space, the lines can be two- or three-dimensional, descriptive or abstract. Shapes, this element only show two-dimensional shape, and it can be organic or geometric. Forms are even easier, it just everything that is three-dimensional that shows an object’s length, width, and volume. Now Space, an element of arts show the space around an object, Space includes positive color and negative color. Color is an element made up by three properties: Hue, value, and intensity. The texture shows a how a thing is structured, and how the inside of an object looks like. Lastly, Value is the brightness difference between photos.

The Elements of Arts is helpful to us because it gives a sense of what a good photograph must have. You can easily split a photo up and check what are some of the elements does this photograph have. And since different elements all have a difference between each other, you can determine which part is which elements in a picture easily.

From this activity, I learned the elements of Arts, whether it’s the definition of it or it’s how to use it, the elements of arts truly is a useful tool when taking or editing photographs. Also, it also gives me the idea of how the picture works, how the elements can affects the beauty of a photograph.

My favorite photograph is this Staircase. I really like this photo because every time when I stared at it, it just gives you the feeling of unstable or disturbing. This photograph also shows the element of value and Lines. First, let’s talk about value, in this picture, the difference in brightness clearly shows us a staircase, and the contrast of light between the top part and the bottom of the picture will make people believe they should always reach the top part but not where the darkness is at. ON the other hand, since the banister shows two clear from appearing to the vanishing point, this photograph also shows the elements of Lines.

Appealing photograph -digital imagery

Photograph by Randy Olson in August 2016.

The location is Wood River, Nebraska.

I really like the beauty of this photo, the photograph must have waited for a long period to capture the lighting to make such a fantastic work. One thing really gets me into it is how he did the layout of this photo. 70% of the photo is the sky part, 25% goes to the lake, 5% goes to the forest. This layout is just perfect for this kind of photograph and it;s really makes you comfortable while looking at it. After a few times staring at the picture, I wonder why are there still sandhill cranes flying, in this kind of weather, shouldn’t they just settle down for now? Why are there so many cranes gathering here? What are they doing? Those questions make me find this photograph even more interesting.

Lastly, This photograph is also very important, not just because it can relax people down, but more due to the story behind it. This photograph was also in a magazine that is about the water decline in the U.S. Midwest. The reason why there are so many birds in this lake is actually due to the aquifer decline in that area, and this will show us about a problem that appears so we can put our focus on it to fix it.