Portrait Examples for JRN 220 (Basic Media Photography)

JRN 220 Portraits Lecture

Posed Portraits

1. Put your Subject at Ease

a. How do you feel when you are photographed?

b. Get to know your subject without equipment

c. Make eye contact primary. Use a tripod.

d. Otherwise it’s like staring down a gun barrel

2. Natural Portrait

a. Forced smile?

b. Smile vs. Spontaneous laughter

c. Smile vs. Serious

d. Let subject be themselves

e. Limited direction

f. Keep looking for moments until you leave

g. What do you want to say

h. Reveal something about character of person

i. Wait until your subject gets tired of posing on their own

3. Light

a. Can make a boring portrait great

b. Directional lighting – 3 dimensional

c. Soft lighting – Window – Doorway

d. Look for light

e. Reflector

f. Do not use direct sunlight

g. Raccoon Eyes

h. Bounce flash


4. Have an idea

a. Look at other portraits for inspiration

b. Do something interesting then do something different no matter how outrageous

c. Use Props

d. Use the background to help tell a story about the person

e. Go early. Stay late.

f. Be flexible in case a better idea comes along


5. Capture the “Inner Person”

a. Face – show what the subject reveals

b. Eyes – looking at the camera vs. looking away

c. Body language


Candid Portraits

1. Photojournalism is candid photography.

a. Subjects are unaware

b. Observe but do not direct

c. Documentary photography

d. Reveal emotion

e. Capture intimate moments without interrupting

f. Tell a story


2. Anticipate a moment

a. Shoot a lot

b. Move yourself

c. Shoot more

d. Shoot until you get the moment

e. Reveal something about your subject

f. Be at the right place at the right time

g. A couple holding hands might kiss

h. A child with a snowball is likely to throw it.

i. Remember to shoot a fraction of a second before the action.

j. Don’t stop too early


3. Subject should not be looking at the camera

a. If they do. Don’t shoot.

b. Wait for them to grow tired of posing. They will go back to what they were doing.

c. When the subject looks at the camera, it’s obvious the subject is camera aware.


4. Preset your camera

a. Aim your camera and focus on something at the same distance as your subject. (Hold your finger half-way down)

b. Concentrate on your subject’s expression.

c. When the moment arises, swing your camera to your subject and shoot.


5. Out in the open

a. When subject is engaged in an activity they are likely to forget about the photographer

b. After shooting the photo, lower your camera and walk away so as not to draw attention to yourself (get name later)


6. Big Game Hunter

a. Use a telephoto lens

b. DSLR – 80-200mm lens or 300 mm lens

c. Shoot then get name