What is a portrait?
A portrait is a photograph, or an artistic representation of a person, in which the face and its expression is predominant.
Basic Rules of Portrait Photography:
- Expressions: You can’t afford to go wrong with this one as most of the concentration of the image will be on the face of the person you photograph.
- Right Gear: Get a few good Primes, 50mm, 85mm or a 135mm(36mm equivalent).
- Framing the shot: Visualize what you want to photograph and the impact of the person in the photograph. Portraits can vary from tight face portraits, to waist portraits, to full body portraits. But don’t forget to get the face in pure expressive detail.
- Focus: Get the eyes in sharp focus. The first rule of thumb in portrait photography is getting the eyes in sharp focus.
- Shooting level: Shooting from the eye level of the person always creates an actual image of the person. Moving above or below, can create a fun perspective. But this may result in disproportionate images where the person might seem too tall or too short.
- Creativity: Get creative by searching for ideas and improvising according to your taste. The true potential of portraits is in the people you photograph and you have a platform to show the world the creative genius in you.
- Research: Read a lot of books and search online. Do as much as 1 hour of reading a day, it will not only help you grow knowledge wise, but also make you theoretically strong.
- Basics: Never forget the basics of photography, they will help you all through your life, as long as you click photographs. Rule of thirds is one such idea one can implement in a full body portrait.
- Confidence: Have confidence in yourself! Your confidence will boost your photographs and help the people you are shooting, express more freely. Get comfortable with people, talk to them.
The software I will be using here is Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5.0.
Basic steps for retouching a portraiture:
This is a out of the camera RAW file. This being a backlit image, is highly contrasted and the colors are taken a level up so as to give a pop out image which is crisp and bold in the eye of the viewer.
- First adjust the exposure. In this picture it seems right, so we wont alter much.
- Then comes the contrast. Adjust it to an extent where you don’t find a whitish tint to the whole picture.
- Highlights: Adjust it to a level that doesn’t blow out the details of the highlights but keeps the crisp nature of the background.
- Shadows: These need to be worked upon cautiously because they can change the skin tone and no one wants to compromise with the natural skin color, as it’s a portrait.
- White: Press Alt+Left mouse click on the white bar, it gives you the info of 100% white pixels. If you find some, get rid of them, but keep the overall appearance of the image subtle.
- Black: Press Alt+Left mouse click on the black adjustment bar to find 100% black pixels. If you find some, work on it and keep the overall balance of the image in limits. Remember, black needs to be perfectly black.
- Then straightaway jump to the sharpness adjustment bar. Adjust it to about 25%, you can never go wrong with it. Zoom into the image and have a look, there shouldn’t be a fake image recreation.
- Vignetting: This is optional. If you feel that the edges are a bit too overexposed then vignette it a bit with a least feather value and flat roundness.
- Finally, go for the temperature adjustment. Keep the image fairly warm. This one specifically was in direct sunlight so it is a step warmer and it gives a fresh and natural look.
So yea, that’s it. Though general, these steps if followed right, might bring out the best in the image.