Lighting: I experimented with lighting in this portrait of my friend. I turned the lights off and asked her to hold a box that had small holes on it with a flashlight behind it, which created those little bright circles on the wall. I had her to hold the box and flashlight to her right so there was the shadow of herself on the wall, as well as the shadow of her facial features on her face (e.g. nose). I had to adjust the ISO, aperture, and shutter speed to really show the lights and shadows; I had a medium ISO, low aperture, and a medium shutter speed because I wanted the picture to be dark but I needed to show the lights.
Playing with Eye Contact: For this portrait, I asked my friend to look into my camera. I had the lowest aperture because I wanted to only focus on her eyes and have the hairs and her ear blurred. There’s only her left eye in the picture because I thought it would be more interesting to only shoot half of the face.
Alter Your Perspective: This is a picture of my father playing his guitar. I asked him to play his guitar for this portrait because he enjoys playing guitar as a hobby and I wanted to show it through the picture. I changed my point of view in this picture. I had my father make his guitar facing towards the ceiling and I placed my camera near the “circular hole” of the guitar and got this shot. I had a low aperture and had my camera on manual focus so the picture is mainly focusing on my dad’s hands.
Framing: Before I took this picture, I really wanted to take a picture that shows framing but I didn’t come up with any ideas. I asked my friend to sit/lie on the stairs and look at my camera through the two small pillars. I was standing opposite to my friend and raised my camera up so that it seems like we are on the same level. I had a medium ISO since it wasn’t very bright in the house.
Introducing a Prop: I had my friend hold some flowers and asked her to look at the flowers. I chose a plain background because I wanted the photo to look simple. I really like this photo because it turned out to be what I imagined it would look like, and the picture looks quiet and peaceful. However, I think I should have moved the camera a little bit to the right side, so that my friend’s entire shoulder/body would be in the frame and not cut off.
Obscuring Part of Your Object: For this portrait, I asked my friend to wear a scarf and hold the scarf so it masked half of her face. I think one thing that this photo needs to improve on is that I should photoshop her hair (the small hairs) so that the photo would be cleaner, but I think the not-so-tidy hair would actually look good if we were outside, because it would then look casual and natural which creates a mood.
Playing with Backgrounds: For this picture, I had my friend hold the same flowers that she held in the other picture. Since flowers kind of represent peacefulness and quietness, I wanted a plain background that is not in any dark colors. I like this photo as well because it shows simplicity and I like all simple photos.
Taking a Series of Shots: The adorable little boy in these three photos is called Marcus and he is my favorite kid when we were taking portraits of the pre-k children. When I was taking these photos, I was sitting in front of him. I noticed the sunlight and wanted to include that in my photo. These three photos are kind of like a triptych. In the first photo, he was looking down, and he is looking at the camera in the middle photo, then he looked down again. I think this tip — taking a series of shots — is helpful because if you continue to take lots of photos, you will definitely end up with more good photos (and you will be able to create some diptychs and triptychs as well!).
Shooting Candidly: I shot this photo when he was playing with legos. Similar to the previous technique, this also means to shoot continuously. I always take photos horizontally, but I tried to shoot some vertical pictures when I was taking portraits. I think sometimes vertical photos look better than horizontal ones, because our view looking at the outside world from the humans’ eyes are more wide rather than thin and tall.
Filling the Frame: This is also Marcus my favorite kid :). He was talking to his teacher when I took this photo, and during the two sessions with the kids, I found out that he doesn’t smile very much, so I was very excited when he smiled and laughed as he talked to his teacher. I zoomed in to fill the frame. There’s also sunshine shining on half of his face so I thought it’s cool.