Introduction to Portrait Photography

Good portrait photography is the combination of finding good light, making your subject feel at ease, and understanding a few basic portrait photography concepts. In this course, you'll learn how to get spectacular portrait photographs by deciding what your photograph should look like, finding or creating good light, determining appropriate composition, and selecting the best camera settings.

Lessons

1. Determine the Purpose of Your Portrait To capture memorable portraits, you must think carefully about why you're taking the photographs, how they'll be used, and what they should look like before you begin taking pictures. This lesson shows you how to plan a portrait sitting. 2. Create a Pleasing Composition Once you know the purpose of the image and its use, it's time to focus on composition. Bad composition can turn an otherwise wonderful photo into an unsatisfactory image. In this lesson, you lean about photo composition and posing techniques.

3. Find or Create Good Light Photography is all about light. For portrait photographers, the skill of finding or creating excellent light is essential to making subjects look their best. This lesson covers lighting techniques and what to do when good light is hard to find. 4. Select Appropriate Camera Settings The automatic settings on today's digital cameras do a reasonably good job capturing images; however, you can greatly improve your photos by adjusting some settings manually. This lesson focuses on shooting modes, aperture, ISO settings, and more.

Determine the Purpose of Your Portrait

Welcome to the Course

To capture memorable portraits, you must think carefully about why you're taking the photographs, how they'll be used, and what they should look like before you begin taking pictures. This lesson shows you how to plan a portrait sitting.  

Good portrait photography is the combination of finding good light, making your subject feel at ease, and understanding a few basic portrait photography concepts. In this course, you'll learn how to get spectacular portrait photographs by deciding what your photograph should look like, finding or creating good light, determining appropriate composition, and selecting the best camera settings. Here's what to expect in the lessons: This course is geared toward consumers with a digital camera and some experience with manual camera settings who aspire to take stunning portraits.

Beyond the lessons, be sure to complete the assignments and quizzes. When you're done with those, visit the Message Board. It's the perfect place to discuss course topics and swap questions and comments with other students and your instructor. Let's get started with the topics in Lesson 1.   Take a few moments to meet your instructor and fellow students on the course Message Board, and let them know a little about you.

Lesson 1: To capture memorable portraits, you must think carefully about why you're taking the photographs, how they'll be used, and what they should look like before you begin taking pictures. This lesson shows you how to plan a portrait sitting. Lesson 2: Once you know the purpose of the image and its use, it's time to focus on composition. Bad composition can turn an otherwise wonderful photo into an unsatisfactory image. In this lesson, you learn about photo composition and posing techniques. Lesson 3: Photography is all about light. For portrait photographers, the skill of finding or creating excellent light is essential to making subjects look their best. This lesson covers lighting techniques and what to do when good light is hard to find. Lesson 4: The automatic settings on today's digital point-and-shoot cameras do a reasonably good job capturing images; however, you can greatly improve your photos by adjusting some settings manually. This lesson covers digital shooting modes, aperture, ISO settings, and more, while offering tips for point-and-shoot and DSLR (digital single lens reflex) cameras.

DSLR Digital Cameras In the revolutionary new Sony® α (alpha) cameras, Sony's mastery of digital technology combines with Minolta's legendary SLR technology -- including autofocus and antishake compatibility with over 20 years of A-mount lenses sold worldwide.

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Reveal Personality

Planning is one of the elements that can turn a photograph into a portrait. When planning a portrait sitting, you should consider several important factors:

Purpose of a Portrait

Each of these factors have an effect on the final image and are described in detail in the following sections. There are many different reasons to have portraits taken. Sometimes, a portrait is a way to document an important event, such as a wedding, graduation, or birth. Other

The purpose of the portrait How the portrait will be used What the portrait should look like The personality of your subject

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looking at his mother while the photographer takes pictures. Notice the completely natural expression on his face -. Senior portraits and children's photos with Santa Claus are often given away as mementos. A busy image with several focal points seems cluttered at wallet size. you could arrange the setting and pose to reflect that. lighting.portraits are meant for display. or in some other location? You should answer all of these questions before you take your first shot. and pose.he's simply playing on his rocking horse. including the setting.in the studio. require head shots and corporate portraits for promotional purposes. What should the final image look like? Will it be a formal or casual portrait? How many subjects will be included? Where will the photographs be taken -. This decision influences many of the other details of the portrait. should be simpler in composition than a portrait destined for larger exposition. Digital Camera Filters What the Portrait Should Look Like Consider the Subject's Personality Improve image quality on your camera or camcorder. Portraits destined for printed literature should always be taken at the highest possible resolution. If your subject is a playful young child. the subject is posed on a favorite rocking horse. Portraits to be printed on a smaller scale. In the portrait of a 2-year-old boy. such as actors and CEOs. shown in Figure 1-1. you need to capture the image at a much higher resolution than a resolution meant for Web site viewing. If the portrait will be printed on a very large scale. outdoors. Individuals in some careers. such as family and fine art portraits. You need to decide which aspects of your subject's personality you want to reveal. . How a Portrait will be Used You should consider how your photographs will be used. such as wallet-sized images.

highcapacity compact media. his personality is easily revealed. your subject should be relaxed enough to forget the camera or at least be concentrating on something else. are left to imagine the story behind the person. Engage your subjects in light conversation -. Ideally. which can help you arrange poses that show them authentically. You've already thought about the personality of your main character -. Now you should consider the story behind the portrait: What does the subject want? Why is she in this place? Does she expect to achieve her goals today?   These are all questions that reveal the subject's story and background. let's discuss how to tell a story or show activity in a portrait. The most interesting portraits are those that excite the viewer's imagination or leave us asking these types of open-ended questions. as viewers.to help them focus on something other than the camera. Memory Stick Media High-speed. When planning a portrait sitting. We. This also gives you clues to their personalities.or. When a subject is fixated on the camera. if you're photographing children. the portraits turn out stiff and posed. engage them in play -. . you should always think about the story your photograph will tell. Because he's forgotten about the camera. Tell a Story or Show an Activity Now that you've given some thought to your subject's personality and how you might best reveal it.Figure 1-1: Young child playing.your subject.

In the rocking horse image. Show a Relationship Now that you have thought about the person and the story your portraits will reveal. the result would have been a much different portrait -. clothing should serve to reflect the subject's personality.his everyday play clothes. Clothing is one of the elements that determines the formality and tone of a portrait. If you shoot in a studio. let's expand on those ideas and consider portraits with two or more subjects.including autofocus and antishake compatibility with over 20 years of . they form some kind of relationship. In the case of a mentoring relationship. A group of peers should be posed in such a way that no one seems to dominate the group. DSLR Digital Cameras In the revolutionary new Sony® α (alpha) cameras.   When you're photographing more than one person. When planning a portrait. however. poses. You should avoid trendy clothing that becomes dated quickly and distracts from the true subject of the portrait -. resting a hand on the younger person's shoulder. capturing the natural environment might not be feasible. Any time two people interact. Putting him on a rocking horse simultaneously entertained him and revealed his true personality. the person. and other elements. you can highlight their professional rather than personal relationship. Are your subjects emotionally close or distant? Is their relationship casual or more formal? Are they peers or is one person dominant? You can give the viewer clues to all of these questions using lighting. you could arrange the older person slightly behind the younger.more formal and posed. If the boy's mother had dressed him in a suit. Unless you're taking fashion portraits in which the clothing is the true subject of the photograph rather than the model. and it should be arranged to match the desired outcome. He would have fidgeted and wiggled too much had the photographer asked him to sit on a posing table. give some thought to what your subject will be wearing. Not all portraits should be taken with the subjects in formal attire. Sony's mastery of digital technology combines with Minolta's legendary SLR technology -. less-diffused lighting scheme for a corporate portrait than you would for a mother and child or a wedding portrait in which the intimate personal relationship is the focus. The portrait of a young child on a rocking horse is a good example.Select a Natural Environment What if your subject simply isn't the type to sit still? Rather than force them into an uncharacteristic posed portrait. less candid and revealing. you can include props that show the subject in a characteristic pose or activity. why not photograph them in their natural environment? An athlete's portrait is often taken on the sports field rather than in a studio because it's a more comfortable setting for the subject and reinforces that aspect of his personality as well. Accessory Kits Avoid Trendy Clothing The perfect complement to a new digital camera. you should always try to show their relationship.usually. Taking Corporate Portraits In a corporate portrait where the subjects are not particularly close emotionally. the young boy is wearing a casual shirt and denim overalls -. You would use a sharper. composition.

get some tips for capturing snapshots. indicating that although she's looking at the camera. A-mount lenses sold worldwide. Capture a Snapshot Figure 1-2: Mother and son. the story behind the person. cradling him. This leads the viewer to focus on the child as well. reflecting those characteristics of the mother-child relationship. Cyber-shot® DSC-H5 Digital Camera Powerful cameras with advanced optics and controls. Printer Supplies .   Next. They often show the subject engaged in some activity or conversation. and lighting to highlight the closeness and warmth of the relationship.the personality of your subject. posing. Her arm is posed on an angle around her son. her attention is on the child. and the relationship of two or more subjects -.let's focus on a more casual type of photo -. Photographs taken of couples dancing at a wedding reception are a good example of this type of portrait. Candid photographs of family and friends fall into the category of snapshots. The lighting is warm and soft. Now that we've discussed the various things you should consider when planning a portrait session -. She's holding her son close with her head slightly angled toward him. You've probably taken a lot of snapshots in the past.the snapshot portrait. The mother is seated with the child on her lap. this portrait shown in Figure 1-2 of a mother and son uses composition.Taking Personal Portraits In contrast to a corporate portrait of professionals.

  When you're capturing snapshot portraits.Because snapshots are so candid. In the portrait shown in Figure 1-4. backyard snowball fight. Preserve your memories on highquality photo paper. take care to angle their heads and arms just right. such as a birthday party. You can use the same theory when taking pictures of a high school football game. the photographer can arrange the subjects in various stances. Fine art portraits are often more fictionalized than other types of portraits. Create a Fine Art Portrait Now that we've covered the basics of taking a snapshot portrait. A subject doesn't usually pose -. you need to do very little formal planning.for a snapshot portrait. Figure 1-3: Sometimes you may have to take a number of photos in a high-action situation to capture the perfect moment. Image Storage Devices Store photographs at home or on the go.in the hopes of getting a shot at a good angle of the high point of the action. hoping one or two turn out well. the photographer may spend more time experimenting with different lighting effects and lens filters than he does actually taking photographs. In the studio. When planning a portrait sitting with the intention of creating fine art.at least not formally -. which aim to reveal the subject's true personality. Digital Camera Flashes . Capturing good snapshots depends more on being in the right place at the right time and taking several shots. or people engaged in any other high-action activity. The photographer's intent was to create a portrait that emphasizes the subject's elegance and romantic personality. Instead. Digital Camera Flashes Sports photography is another good example of snapshots. like the one shown in Figure 1-3. Fine art portraiture is just the opposite. you take the portrait without the subject's notice. they can be more difficult to capture properly than a posed studio portrait. Fine art portraits often present a romanticized or idealized version of the subject. A photographer on the sidelines doesn't have the luxury of asking players to re-create a winning play. so they take many shots -.sometimes dozens of them in the span of 10 or 20 seconds -. and set up flattering lighting schemes. She is gazing up at a warm directional light source. the subject is dressed in a French colonial-style gown and is posed in a reclining position. Brighten up your photography with the right flash for your Sony digital camera. let's move to the other end of the scale and talk about creating a fine art portrait. or it's a momentary interruption that's quickly forgotten.

she added a soft omnidirectional light filter to create a vignette to further soften the image. they alter the image drastically. we see a woman gazing at a glowing orb hovering above her. but as you can see. Figure 1-5: Digital lighting manipulation and lens flare effect. however. . These digital manipulations are simple to apply. Using what you learned in Lesson 1.Figure 1-4: Fine art portrait. Before moving on. and then added a lens flare to create a focal point for the subject. Lesson 2 will teach you about image composition and posing techniques that can mean the difference between great portraits and disappointing images. See you there. In the final image. The photograph came out quite well as taken. adding interest and changing the story the portrait tells. review the lesson and decide what you'd like the final image to look like. complete the assignment and quiz for this lesson. Look online for examples of fine art portraits for inspiration. and then stop by the Message Board to interact with your fellow students and instructor. the portrait is of a woman in an elegant gown. to create a piece of art. In the original image. the photographer had to do some manipulation using image editing software. As you can see in Figure 1-5. Brighten up your photography with the right flash for your Sony digital camera. Moving On Assignment #1 In this lesson. Before the sitting. plan a portrait sitting that culminates in a fine art portrait of your subject. you learned how to plan portrait sittings in general and picked up tips for taking snapshots and capturing fine art portraits.

you can certainly take good-quality portraits without them. you lean about photo composition and posing techniques.   In Lesson 1. Select a Background Once you know the purpose of the image and its use. experimenting with lighting and poses. Bad composition can turn an otherwise wonderful photo into an unsatisfactory image. Professional portrait studios have large. you learned how to plan a portrait sitting.) The purpose of the portrait How much time you have allotted to take photographs What the final image should look like True False How the portrait will be used The personality of the subject Question 2: True or False: You should have your subjects avoid trendy clothing when dressing for a portrait sitting. Now you'll learn how some basic composition techniques will help you take great photographs. Create a Pleasing Composition Inform the subjects that you may need them to re-create key scenes if the first images don't turn out well. In the fine art portrait discussed in Lesson 1. In the portraits discussed in this course so far. . it's time to focus on composition. painted canvas sheets to use as backdrops. For others. the backgrounds have been simple and unobtrusive. In the first portrait of a child on a rocking horse. the background was black broadcloth draped over a posing table. a neutral background is best because it doesn't distract from the subject. Use an expensive telephoto lens designed for sport photography. however. Question 1: What are some of the most important factors you should consider when planning a portrait sitting? (Check all that apply. Take as many shots as possible to improve your odds of getting a few good ones. In this lesson. the background or setting is just as important as the subject and should be considered a secondary subject. shown previously in Figure 1-1. For some portraits. After the sitting. The portrait shown in Figure DSLR Lenses Wide-range of lenses for all your photographic needs. The background you choose for your portraits depends greatly on the planning you did in Lesson 1. import your images into the digital image editing software of your choice and apply special effects to create the final image. a simple unbleached muslin sheet was hung as a backdrop.  Quiz: #1 A) B) E)     A) B) A) B)   C) D) Take as many images as you need. Question 3: What is one thing you can do to take good snapshot portraits in action-oriented circumstances? C) D) Carefully set up the lighting and scene. Another alternative is to use a natural setting as your background.

Digital Camera Battery Chargers & AC Adapters Sony's custom power accessories for your digital camera are quick. When capturing head shots.including There are three basic positions for the head: profile. Figure 2-1: Natural background. This prevents the subject from looking wider than they are and creates a base for the image. The brown leaves on the tree are neutral enough not to distract from the subject. three-quarters. You should be sure that the subject's arms are not held stiffly at the sides but are positioned loosely and slightly away from the body. They are fairly simple positions but may take some practice to get just right: Profile: In the profile. . you're actually shooting the head and shoulders. reliable and compact. you see exactly one half of the face. Head Positions DSLR Digital Cameras In the revolutionary new Sony® α (alpha) cameras.   Capturing Head and Body Shots Once you've chosen your background. and seveneighths. it's time to think about how you'll position your subject. so now you need to determine how to position your subject. You've decided on a background for your portraits. the green cloak would have caused the subject to get lost in the background. Sony's mastery of digital technology combines with Minolta's legendary SLR technology -.2-1 was taken outdoors in late fall. Had the same photograph been taken in the summer when the leaves were green.

the subject's head is tilted just slightly away from the camera. .autofocus and antishake compatibility with over 20 years of A-mount lenses sold worldwide. Seven-eighths: In the seven-eighths view. Cyber-shot® FullFeatured Line Powerful cameras with advanced optics and controls. you see more of one side of the face than the other. Three-quarters: In a three-quarters view.

. In the image shown in Figure 2-2. Body Shots There are two basic types of body shots: three-quarter length and full body shots. because it makes the subject appear to have been cut in half. You should avoid cutting off the subject at a joint. such as the waist. This helps create a more dynamic composition.The subject's head should be slightly tilted in almost every shot to create an angled line from the eyes. A portrait in which the eyes are not angled at all tends to look stiff and static. the photograph ends just below the subject's waist. or ankle. Three-quarter length shots show the subject's head and body below the waist. These shots typically cut off the subject either at mid-thigh or below the knee. knee.

Figure 2-3: Three-quarter length body shot cut off at the waist.Figure 2-2: Three-quarter length body shot. . The photograph looks unfinished. It's the same photograph. but it's been cropped to end exactly at the subject's waist. Compare that image with the image in Figure 2-3.

the subject's eyes are often placed at the top third of the image -. The exception is a subject that's facing away from the camera. The greatest areas of visual interest occur where the lines intersect. The Rule of Thirds This is the simplest of the two ways of achieving dynamic composition. Imagine your photograph is divided into nine boxes -. Ideally. in a portrait. and directs the viewer's eye to the most important features of your photograph. There are two common methods for determining where to place the head or heads in your portraits: the rule of thirds and the golden mean.You can take a full body shot with the subject sitting. you should angle the camera so that the subject slants away from or toward the lens. however. interesting. you'll notice that the subject's eyes are on a line approximately one-third of the way below the top of the photograph. The dividing lines break your image into thirds vertically and horizontally.   Decide Where to Place the Head or Heads in the Frame Now that you understand some basic positioning concepts and techniques. as shown in Figure 2-4. This is why. you need to decide where to place your subject within the frame of the photograph. Although many portraits are composed with the subject in the center of the frame. Printer Supplies Preserve your memories on highquality photo paper. A full body portrait in which the subject is facing the camera head-on tends to look like a mug shot. Deciding where to place your subject within the frame of your photograph is one of the most important decisions you need to make when composing a portrait.three rows and three columns. or lying down. In Figure 2-5.on or near a dividing line. you should create a composition that's dynamic. you can see that the subject's head is positioned on the intersection of two dividing lines. . Figure 2-4: Full body shot. standing.

It's especially useful for portrait compositions with two subjects. not off to the side.Accessory Kits The perfect complement to a new digital camera. you may want to take them . To determine the golden mean. you see that the two subjects are placed close to the intersections. Regardless of which rule you use when placing your subjects within the frame of the photograph. You also need to decide whether to frame your subject vertically or horizontally. Figure 2-6: Two subjects placed according to the golden mean. In this example. you should pay attention to the direction your subject is facing. and then draw lines from the empty corners to intersect the first line at a 90-degree angle. place her on the left side of the frame so she's gazing toward the center of the photograph. If you plan to take close-up head and shoulders shots. draw a line diagonally from one corner of the frame to the opposite. Place your subjects' heads at the two intersections. The Golden Mean Figure 2-5: A subject placed according to the rule of thirds. It was first described by the ancient Greeks and is still in use today. Another method of determining dynamic framing is the golden mean. If the subject is facing toward the right.

You've decided on a background. it's important for them to appear comfortable and natural.you should take several shots of your subject from each orientation to see which works best for that subject and setting. . Adults often warm to a conversation about hobbies. no one will be fooled if their eyes aren't smiling too. You should also be sure that the iris of the eyes is bordered by the eyelids -. A lowered chin looks weak and portrays a lack of confidence. and you have quite a dilemma: how to make the subject appear natural while orchestrating every detail of their pose. A toddler will give his best smile when laughing at the antics of a hand puppet or squeaking toy. be sure the pupils aren't too large or the subject will have a vacant look. Slight adjustments of a subject's chin height can drastically alter the impression of a portrait. You may need to ask your subject to raise or lower his chin slightly to achieve a middle height. Likewise. When posing a subject. family. decided whether to take head or full body shots. Even if your subject is smiling. If you're taking pictures under bright light.there should not be a white space between the iris and the upper or lower eyelid. Eyes Image Storage Devices Store photographs at home or on the go.   These are not firm rules -.horizontally to balance the naturally vertical orientation of the subject. Chin Height Chin height is one area in which a subject's normal stance might not photograph well. Landscape photographs are nearly always taken from a horizontal orientation because this enables a wider view. As the photographer. even though this may not be the subject's natural level. Digital Camera Flashes The best way to make your subject's eyes appear interested and lively is to engage their interest. you should do what you can to take the subject's mind off the photo shoot and onto a subject that interests and perhaps amuses them. you need to pay attention to the tiny posing details that make your portraits look professional. If the purpose of the portrait is to emphasize height. if you're shooting in low light. be sure the subject's pupils aren't too small or they'll appear beady-eyed in the final photograph. Combine this with the fact that the camera is not 100-percent accurate. and learned some basic portrait composition rules. You've already done quite a bit of work before you take a single shot. A subject that naturally holds their chin slightly high looks haughty or bored. a vertical orientation reinforces that. Now it's time to dig into the details of posing. Unfortunately. minor things that are completely unnoticeable in real life will be glaringly obvious when caught in a portrait. You need to take full body shots vertically if they're close up. Very few people are good enough actors to appear genuinely happy when they're nervous or preoccupied with being photographed. or other light topics. If you're photographing young children. That's covered in the next section. keep a small selection of toys on hand. Simple Posing Techniques Once you've worked out how you'll frame your subjects. Brighten up your photography with the right flash for your Sony digital camera.

Take a minimum of three head shots. chin height. There are a few guidelines that make posing hands easier: Mouth As with the eyes. they're distracting: Pose hands at an angle to the camera lens. engaging your subject usually results in a natural smile. these things are hardly noticeable. you'll learn how to find or create flattering lighting conditions. complete the assignment and quiz for this lesson. eyes. Gap between the lips: When people are relaxed. Instead. the mouth should be relaxed and smiling.they won't fool anyone and will appear stiff and forced. one each of the following: Full body shot Three-quarter length . Pay special attention to the posing tips for hands. head over to the Message Board to post questions and comments for your classmates and instructor. you learned how to compose an interesting. In normal conversation. Take a series of head and body shots using the techniques explained in Lesson 2. Separate the fingers slightly so they appear distinct. Take a minimum of two body shots. especially with female subjects. dynamic portrait. However. This can make them appear overly large and out of proportion. You also learned some basic posing techniques to give your portraits a professional look. After that.Hands The hands are one of the most difficult areas to pose. drawing attention away from the rest of the face. Avoid false smiles -. In Lesson 3. This gives a strong line to the hands. partially because they're closer to the camera than the subject's head. Moving On Assignment #1 If you keep these details in mind as you pose your subjects. Bend the wrist slightly. the teeth will show slightly. This appears more graceful than a solid line from the arm to the hand. your portraits will look more professional. rather than pointing them straight at the camera. and mouth. their lips often fall apart slightly. Keep the outer edge of the hand toward the camera. In a portrait. In a portrait. Before moving on. To complete the assignment: Profile Three-quarters Seven-eights 1. one each of the following: 1. In this lesson. there are a few details you should watch out for. Dry lips: Have your subject moisten her lips occasionally so they appear soft and natural.

including autofocus and antishake compatibility with over 20 years of Amount lenses sold worldwide. Bend the wrist slightly. If you plan to take portraits professionally or even semiprofessionally. there are techniques you can use to achieve flattering lighting effects for your portraits. Hide the hands out of view of the camera. Keep the outer edge of the hand toward the camera. Sony's mastery of digital technology combines with Minolta's legendary SLR technology -. You can get a set of four lights with stands and reflectors for a few hundred dollars. is the primary source of light in your photograph.) C) D) Find or Create Good Light What Makes Good Portrait Light? Photography is all about light. Because a photograph is a two-dimensional approximation of three-dimensional reality. You can In the revolutionary new Sony® α (alpha) cameras. or main light. the type and direction of light is important.  Quiz: #1 A) B)   A) B) E)   A) B)   Question 1: True or False: In a profile head shot. you learned how to compose a good portrait. The golden mean The rule of thirds The Greek method The rule of fourths True False Question 3: Which rules help you achieve dynamic composition? (Check all that apply. There are four basic lights that professional portrait photographers use day in and day out. Question 2: Which techniques can you use to make posing hands easier? (Check all that apply. Used equipment can be had for much less. However. Correct lighting can create the impression of roundness and dimension in an otherwise flat image. DSLR Digital Cameras Key Light The key light.   In Lesson 2. you should see part of the other side of the face. Good portrait light is any lighting that is flattering to your subject and portrays the effect you're trying to convey.) C) D) Pose hands at an angle to the camera lens. it may be worth it to you to purchase a basic lighting setup. For portrait photographers. Now we'll move on to creating lighting effects that flatter your subjects. This lesson covers lighting techniques and what to do when good light is hard to find. Fortunately. the skill of finding or creating excellent light is essential to making subjects look their best. Separate the fingers so they appear distinct. you can approximate a professional lighting setup with lights you already have. . if your main goal is to take great photographs of family and friends.

however. Reflectors produce a very soft. Then. for home use. Cyber-shot® FullFeatured Line Hair Light A hair light is a small directional light that's usually positioned behind and above the subject. place the key light so that it highlights the side of the face furthest away from the camera. It's also a lower-powered light that doesn't compete with the key light. direct your key light toward the side of the face closest to the camera. Short lighting. Experiment with both styles to see the dramatic difference you can achieve simply by moving your key light. A basic reflector is any surface that reflects light onto the subject or the background. Broad and Short Lighting Fill Light Powerful cameras with Broad and short lighting are two styles that produce very different effects. You create b advanced optics and controls. diffused light that can fill in shadows or highlight certain features. The main purpose of the background light is to separate the subject from the background and to eliminate unwanted shadows. and it's often diffused with a piece of frosted plastic or acetate to create a softer effect. Instead. For a paramount or glamour lighting setup. Background Light Reflectors The background light is rarely focused on the subject. thins a heavy face. you can use a large sheet of light-colored paper or fabric or even a metal cookie sheet. nearly perpendicular to the camera. on the other hand. The background reflects light back onto the subject. Reflectors are covered in more detail at the end of this lesson. Rembrandt lighting is another dramatic lighting scheme that you achieve by moving the key light to the side of the subject. Many professional reflectors are available. The main purpose of the fill light is to fill in shadows created by the key light. Now that you understand the basics of indoor lighting. Experiment with the items you have available to see which reflectors produce the most flattering light effects. position the key light directly in front of the subject to emphasize high cheekbones. . To create short lighting. road lighting by positioning your subject's head in a three-quarters or seven-eighths pose. Its purpose is to bring out the highlights in the subject's hair. giving a more three-dimensional look to the hair. you point it away from the subject toward a seamless background.achieve many common lighting effects simply by moving the key light. It's typically three or four times weaker than your key light so as not to compete with the key light. read on to learn how to find and create flattering light outdoors. Broad lighting is often used to fill out a face that's too thin.

experimenting with various lighting effects. To take advantage of natural outdoor light. Taking photographs in direct sunlight can be tricky because direct sunlight tends to be harsher than diffused light in the shade. and many professional photographers set up their studios to take advantage of a large window or skylights. If a cloud drifts in front of the sun. you can subtract light from the scene by using a dark-colored reflector. background lights.   Taking portraits indoors is by far the easiest way to achieve good photographs. fill lights. You have the luxury of taking your time. . Black tends to absorb light. however. Without a fill light. Outdoor portraits can be very compelling because they show the subject in a natural setting that gives a sense of context to the photograph. and hair lights. DSLR Accessories Natural lighting is generally the most flattering. diffuse light. the bright sun silhouettes your subject. If the sun is directly overhead. In a backlit portrait. and taking several shots with different effects. you have to contend with natural lighting circumstances that are entirely outside of your control. You should place the reflector as close as possible to your subject without letting it appear in the image. it's essential to use a secondary fill light. you need to recognize how the available light will flatter your subject. the sun is behind the subject. In a studio setting -. When you shoot photographs outdoors. Reflectors are also very helpful in a backlit portrait because they reflect light onto your subject's face. where the branches block most of the overhead sunlight without casting shadows that obscure your subject. You can mitigate this effect using a technique called subtractive lighting. When taking a backlit portrait. Taking portraits in the shade is common because it produces a soft.even if the studio is just your living room -. Shade All of the special tools you need to complete the picture. highlighting its hair and the line of her head and shoulders. Backlighting Backlighting is another effect that uses direct sunlight. Sometimes you need to add artificial lights or reflectors to fill in areas of your subject's face that are in a shadow. Direct Sun Digital Camera Filters Improve image quality on your camera or camcorder. so placing a sheet of black paper or fabric where it absorbs unwanted light eases some of the harshness caused by overhead sunlight. Just as light-colored fabric or paper reflectors bounce light back onto the subject. A great place to pose your subjects in the shade is near a clearing of trees.Shooting Outdoors You've learned how to sculpt light in a studio setting using a key light.you can carefully control the lighting and environment. Now you'll learn how to recognize and modify natural light outdoors. your subject's eyes will appear sunken. there's not much you can do about it but wait.

you should use a mix of strong and weak lights that complement each other.   Strength Light strength is the easiest element to recognize. either from direct sunlight or artificial lights. Be careful to leave enough shadow to create depth and roundness. balancing each other and the shadows created by the subject's features. and Color You've learned how to manipulate light both in a studio setting and outdoors. Now that you understand the vital characteristics of light. which is very noticeable in a photograph. Direction Color Lighting direction is just as essential as light strength. So far you've learned how to manipulate light. To counteract this.   Accessory Kits The perfect complement to a new digital camera. however. Practice observing the colors in natural light so that when you take photographs you'll be able to predict how the colors of light will show up in the final image. which is flattering to most subjects. Ideally. Photographs do not. direction. A light placed on the right side of the subject will cast shadows on the left side. you learned about short and broad lighting. you should place your lights so that they intersect on your subject. A light on the left of the subject fills in those shadows.Light Quality: Strength. you must learn to recognize three elements of light: strength. Because taking photographs is essentially a study in light. and it can have a dramatic effect on your photographs. Earlier in this lesson. Light at dawn is typically very warm. To create a good mix of light. A photograph taken outdoors where the subject is posed under a tree may end up too green because the light filtering through the tree leaves adds a green or cyan cast to the image. Next. Modifying Light with a Simple Reflector Photography is all about showing reality. Lights that are too weak produce a photograph that's too dark. illuminates your subject but can flatten their features. It's also important to understand the characteristics of light so you can arrange your own lighting schemes more effectively. portrait photography requires a . so a photographer must learn to see color variations in light. let's return to techniques that enable you to manipulate light to show your subjects at their best. and color. Strong light. you'll learn some key elements that make up flattering light. Direction. Color is the most difficult aspect of light to see because our eyes naturally correct colored light. you can make your subject's face appear heavier or thinner. Just by moving one light. you should add secondary lights to create shadows that give the face depth. Natural light at dusk is often very cool in color. Image Storage Devices Store photographs at home or on the go. These lighting effects use direction to drastically alter the image.

For a photographic reflector. Using the second A-clamp. 3. Cut the foam core to 18 x 18 inches. Extend the legs on the light stand and raise the midsection to about 6 feet. two A-clamps (available at any hardware store). 1. use a broad lighting scheme. After you gather the materials. Adjust the stand to whatever height you need. complete the assignment and quiz for this lesson. See you there. For the second. you can prop the foam core on a stack of books until you achieve the proper angle. You can purchase professional reflectors. but these surfaces are too reflective for most portraits. For the first portrait. and how to build a simple reflector. Quiz: #1 A) Take a pair of portraits with identical lighting except for the position of the key light. Before moving on. or you can create your own (read on to find out how).including autofocus and antishake compatibility with over 20 years of Amount lenses sold worldwide. Compare the two portraits and note the differences in the apparent weight of the subject's face. The trick is finding the right surface and positioning it correctly to achieve the effect you want. you can use any tall.delicate balance of reality and flattery. but doesn't focus it. The purpose of a reflector is to bounce light from a primary light source onto your subject. use a short lighting scheme. This size is small enough to be maneuverable but large enough to reflect light across your subject. and then stop by the Message Board to see what your classmates and instructor are up to. Attach one A-clamp to the light stand to serve as a cross piece. and a light stand. In the revolutionary new Sony® α (alpha) cameras. Cyber-shot® DSC-H5 Digital Camera Assignment #1   In this lesson. Sony's mastery of digital technology combines with Minolta's legendary SLR technology -. you want something that bounces and diffuses light. 2. Reflectors are one of the simplest ways to modify light. stable stand. You want to show your subjects at their best while minimizing their flaws. You could use a square of metal or glass or even a mirror as a reflector. you need a piece of foam core (available at art and craft supply stores).just be sure they're not lit. Floor lamps work well -. attach the foam core to the first A-clamp. do the following: Moving On If you need the reflector positioned below your subject.) Key light . 4. Any light-colored or reflective surface will do this. how to find flattering outdoor light. One of the most important techniques you can use to create flattering portraits is careful lighting. If you don't have a light stand. you learned how to create lighting effects in a studio setting. Question 1: What are some basic types of light used in portrait photography? (Check all that apply. Powerful cameras with advanced optics and controls. Build Your Own DSLR Digital Cameras To build your own reflector. Lesson 4 will explain how to choose appropriate camera settings so that your portraits turn out great.

Digital point-and-shoot cameras show a close approximation of the actual image through a viewfinder.) C) D) Direction Select Appropriate Camera Settings Select the Shooting Mode The automatic settings on today's digital cameras do a reasonably good job capturing images. however. SLR is a term used with film cameras and is a system of lenses and mirrors that show the photographer exactly the image that will be recorded on film.also referred to as point-and-shoot models -.take reasonably good photographs. .   Basic digital cameras -. DSLR cameras also show you the exact image to be recorded and give you a lot more control over the details than a simple point-and-shoot digital camera. read on to learn how to select the appropriate aperture for your photograph. However. Now that you understand the basics of your camera's built-in shooting modes. if you're serious about taking great portraits. you should learn to use the proper mode with preset aperture and shutter speeds that work well for most photographs of a given type. You'll get reasonably good photographs without a lot of fuss. This lesson focuses on shooting modes. However. If you leave it on auto or program mode. don't feel as if you have to stick to the preset values when you're taking portraits. aperture. it acts just like a point-and-shoot camera. The shooting mode is just a starting point. sunset.B) E)     A) B) A) B)   C) D) Question 2: True or False: You must have a secondary fill light when taking backlit photographs. Most DSLR cameras come with portrait. However. if you're taking specialized photographs. you can greatly improve your photos by adjusting some settings manually. True False Heat Strength Color Effect light Fill light Top light Background light Question 3: What are the three elements of light that you should consider? (Check all that apply. landscape. Digital Camera Batteries Get long lasting power for your digital camera. and more. The first thing you'll find when working with a DSLR camera is that it has several shooting modes available. Those details are discussed throughout this lesson. Sony batteries are fast charging. ISO settings. DSLR Accessories All of the special tools you need to complete the picture. long lasting and lightweight. you should move up to a DSLR (digital single lens reflex) model. and night view modes. just because the camera has a preset portrait mode.

  Aperture refers to the size of the diaphragm in the lens. What does all this mean for your photographs? Aperture settings affect the depth of field of your images. it can also look out of focus.   Controlling aperture settings is one of the main advantages of a DSLR camera. The diaphragm size is important because it controls the amount of light allowed to hit the image sensor in a given amount of time. Digital Camera Flashes Brighten up your photography with the right flash for your Sony digital camera. slowing down to allow more time for the light to reach the sensor. highcapacity compact media. read on to learn how to select the ideal focal length for your portraits. depending on other factors such as lighting. Memory Stick Media High-speed. it's essential to learn how to select the best aperture setting for the image you want. The shutter speed controls how much time light has to reach the image sensor. An image in which the face is in sharp focus but the rest of the image is hazy can give a romantic. A slow shutter speed can result in blurred images if your subject moves. There are a wide variety of lenses available for DSLR cameras. this is sometimes desirable. A higher aperture setting closes the diaphragm. Both extremes have their place in portrait photography. You'll learn about shutter speeds later in this lesson. For portraits. such as f/22. A tripod is essential equipment for shooting at high aperture/slow shutter speeds. maximizes the amount of the image that's in sharp focus but slows down your shutter speed. as do the middle ranges. or if your hand shakes slightly. This means that only the very center of your photograph will be in sharp focus. DSLR Digital Cameras In the revolutionary . Changes in the aperture level are called f-stops. and setting. The most common starter lens is a zoom lens that covers a range of focal lengths from wide-angle to telephoto and has a variable aperture. pose. A high aperture setting. idealized impression. a slight breeze blows their hair. The focal length determines how much of the scene is captured in the photograph. a very low aperture setting results in a fast shutter speed but a very narrow depth of field. Select the Focal Length Now that you understand aperture.Select the Appropriate Aperture Your camera's built-in shooting modes give you a starting point for various types of photographs. The shutter speed adjusts. However. however. The shutter speed automatically adjusts to changes in aperture. allowing less light to reach the sensor. Focal length and the ability to use specialized lenses is another. which effectively double or halve the amount of light allowed to reach the sensor. On the other hand.

where the subject is photographed while mountain climbing. or snowboarding. they do have their uses for outdoor portraits. The shorter focal length enables you to fit more people into the frame without your subjects looking as if they're being shoved together. For indoor scenes. a wide-angle focal length has two main uses: indoor scenes and group portraits. the lenses you bought for it will work with a DSLR camera too. however. . which will change the depth of field. Telephoto Midrange focal lengths are useful for smaller groups and individual portraits in which getting a large scene into the frame isn't a concern. your camera needs to record more light to produce a clear image. you need to consider which ISO setting to use. Sony's mastery of digital technology combines with Minolta's legendary SLR technology -.   Your camera's ISO setting is a measure of how sensitive it is to light. the image will simply be too dark. You can either change the aperture and shutter speed. You see more detail on the edges. If your composition calls for the subject to be posed in a rugged area where it would be difficult to set up your equipment. Select ISO Settings Once you've selected your aperture and focal length. Cyber-shot® DSC-H5 Digital Camera Powerful cameras with advanced optics and controls. if you have an SLR film camera. Action portraits. Midrange new Sony® α (alpha) cameras. kayaking. or raise the ISO setting so that more of the light that reaches the sensor is recorded. Check your camera's documentation to be sure. Higher ISO settings record more light. Aperture and shutter speed control how much light reaches the light sensor in your camera. jet skiing. The ISO setting controls how sensitive that sensor is -. Telephoto lenses aren't used often in portrait photography. Newer DSLR cameras have DSLR Accessories All of the special tools you need to complete the picture. In portrait photography. Why would you use a higher ISO setting? There are two main purposes to a higher ISO setting: low light and creative techniques.Wide-Angle In most cases. Low Light In low-light situations. The difference between a photograph shot with a wide-angle lens and one shot with a midrange lens is similar to the difference between watching a movie in widescreen mode and the same movie in standard mode. a telephoto lens gives you the flexibility of shooting pictures from more amenable ground.how much light it records. Wide-angle lenses are also useful for large group portraits. they can also record more noise. Read on to learn more. due to low natural light or intentionally low studio lighting. a wide-angle lens (or the wide-angle setting on a variable zoom lens) captures more of the room than a midrange focal length. resulting in grainy or noisy images. Without raising the ISO setting. also call for a telephoto lens.including autofocus and antishake compatibility with over 20 years of A-mount lenses sold worldwide. however.

Increasing your camera's ISO setting is one way to increase the amount of light in your photograph. The next section covers tips for using a flash. you have complete control over whether or not the flash is used. Digital Camera Lenses Expand your camera's optical range with a high quality lens. Adding a flash is another way. the noise produced at very high ISO settings contribute to that effect once you convert the image to black and white. direct flash lighting. read on to get some tips on controlling red eye. Take a few shots using both techniques to determine which technique produces the effect you want. aperture. The images might not turn into anything great. It's set to go off any time the available light dips below a preset level. It adds light when you're taking photographs in low light. In the end. so you're familiar with what it does. it can produce unwanted side effects. however. External flash units often have a swivel feature that enables you to bounce the flash off the ceiling or a bounce card. Sometimes a little noise can be a good thing. Built-in flash units are generally less powerful than external units. Now that you know some of the advantages and disadvantages to using a flash. Like many other things with DSLR cameras. but you haven't lost anything by taking the shots. whether you use a flash to increase the light in your photograph or increase your ISO setting is a matter of choice. and focal length for your photograph. shooting mode. you often have little or no control over when the flash goes off. with pointand-shoot digital cameras. . however. The type of flash When the flash goes off The direction the flash is pointed Digital Photo Printers Capture. it doesn't give you as much flexibility as an external flash. Sony batteries are fast charging. It's often worth taking a few shots at a high ISO setting just to see what you can do with them in an image editor. is most useful for fast-moving subjects.   Digital Camera Batteries To Flash or Not to Flash Get long lasting power for your digital camera. such as Adobe® Photoshop®. and more. which fires the flash at the end of the exposure. You can also control: Most entry-level DSLR cameras have a built-in flash. and print superb digital images with a Sony Photo Printer. enhance. Your DSLR camera has a maximum synch speed. Your point-and-shoot digital camera probably has a flash. This softens the light. However. Rear synch. choosing a focus point. If you try to shoot at a higher speed. eliminating the shadows caused by harsher. which is the fastest shutter speed you can use with the flash and still get a complete image. which means you have to get a lot closer to your subject for the flash to illuminate the scene. long lasting and lightweight. you end up with the lower half of the image blacked out because the shutter began to close before the flash went off. how to select the ideal ISO. You can also set the synch mode so that the flash fires at the beginning of the exposure or at the end.Creative Techniques improved the quality of images produced at higher ISO settings so even the highest ISO settings are useful in low light situations. If your intention is to create an image that looks antique. It's usually sufficient for adding light to low-light situations and for filling in shadows.

and special effects. This gives you a more accurate light reading in the center of the image.come with a red-eye correction feature built in.including autofocus and antishake compatibility with over 20 years of A-mount lenses sold worldwide. Powerful cameras with advanced optics and controls. Centerweighted metering works the same way.Control Red Eye. import your images into an image editor like Photoshop® and experiment further with color correction. you choose a focal point -. bouncing the flash off the ceiling or a bounce card. or honeycomb. or increasing your ISO setting to record more available light.and accept that other parts of the image will be slightly out of focus. Experiment with various settings and combinations and see what happens. See you there.usually your subject -. This gives the best overall exposure. Red eye is caused when a flash is too close to the camera lens while an image is captured. .you've completed this course and learned a lot about taking great portraits. Then. so we'll wrap things up by dishing out a few last-minute tips.DSLR and pointand-shoot -. Congratulations -. complete the assignment for this lesson and then take the quiz. DSLR cameras use a variety of methods to determine the optimal exposure based on the light levels in the scene you're photographing. When you take a photograph. The best way to learn what you and your camera can do is to get out and take some portraits. except that segments in the center of the frame are weighted more heavily than those at the edges. In Summary Moving On Assignment #1 Cyber-shot® FullFeatured Line There are far more settings and options available on your DSLR camera than can be covered adequately in this course. Most digital cameras -. Focus Point Selection. Higher-end cameras include a spotmetering option that enables you to choose a spot within the frame to take a light meter reading and determine optimal exposure. balance. Before moving on. The best way to control red eye is to prevent it by using an external flash. You can also reduce the effect of red eye in an image editor after the fact. You also have a great resource in the form of the Message Board where you can interact with your fellow students and your instructor. as is the case with a built-in flash. and More Controlling Red Eye You've learned a lot about your camera in this lesson.   Selecting a Focus Point DSLR Digital Cameras In the revolutionary new Sony® α (alpha) cameras. metering divides the image into a number of segments and then averages the light meter readings from each of them. Your camera does some of this for you automatically when it evaluates the light in the image and chooses an exposure level. Evaluative. which helps reinforce what you learned. Sony's mastery of digital technology combines with Minolta's legendary SLR technology -.

  Quiz: #1 A) B)   A) B)   A) B)   C) D) C) D) C) D) Take a series of three to five portraits using your camera's range of apertures. Do the images look the way you expect them to? What are the most noticeable differences between the image taken at the lowest aperture and the one taken at the highest aperture? Question 1: What's an f-stop? Question 2: For an action portrait in which the subject is snowboarding.2007 Powered. . which type of lens should you use? Question 3: What's the primary cause of red eye? Direct overhead lighting Incorrect light metering A shallow depth of field Telephoto Midrange DSLR Wide-angle The maximum amount of light the camera can record Changes in the aperture level Changes in the focal length Changes in the ISO setting A flash that's too close to the camera lens © 2003 . Inc. Compare the differences in the final images.