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Digital Portrait Photography and Lighting: Take Memorable Shots Every Time

Book Description

Portraits preserve people

Since the earliest portraits were scratched onto cave walls, we've developed increasingly sophisticated tools for capturing human likenesses. Yet the motivation has changed little -- to freeze a human image as an art form, a means of communication, a piece of personal history. Whether formalized with elaborate settings and lighting or snapped at the beach to hold forever the pure joy in a child's face, portraits preserve people. Today's digital technology offers flexibility, economy, and almost limitless tools for perfecting your images, and these experts help you use it.

* Discover the skills you need to move from serious amateur to professional photographer

* Learn how a snapshot differs from a casual portrait

* Identify what you want your portrait to communicate

* Investigate lighting equipment and how to use it in different scenarios

* Use natural or mixed light to create unique effects

* Explore composition, posing, and handling challenges

* Handle props, backgrounds, color, location shooting, and studio shots

* Work with groups, children, and pets

* Perfect image-editing methods and final-touch processes that produce high-quality, professional images

* Find resources that can help you in setting up your own portrait business

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. About the Authors
  3. Credits
  4. Preface
  5. Acknowledgments
    1. About Istoica
  6. I. Understanding Digital Portrait Photography
    1. 1. Exploring Portrait Photography
      1. 1.1. Take a Better Snapshot
      2. 1.2. Create a Casual Portrait
      3. 1.3. Set Up a Formal Portrait
      4. 1.4. Self-Portraits
      5. 1.5. Do You Have What It Takes?
    2. 2. The Tools of the Trade
      1. 2.1. The Camera
        1. 2.1.1. Getting the right camera for the job
        2. 2.1.2. What features do you need?
        3. 2.1.3. A word about shooting RAW
      2. 2.2. Lenses
        1. 2.2.1. Aperture
        2. 2.2.2. Focal length
          1. 2.2.2.1. Fixed length or prime lenses
          2. 2.2.2.2. Wide angle
          3. 2.2.2.3. Standard/normal
          4. 2.2.2.4. Short telephoto
          5. 2.2.2.5. Mid telephoto
          6. 2.2.2.6. Long telephoto
        3. 2.2.3. Zoom lenses
        4. 2.2.4. Fast and slow
        5. 2.2.5. Brands and features
          1. 2.2.5.1. Silent auto-focus
          2. 2.2.5.2. Crop reduction
          3. 2.2.5.3. Superior optics
          4. 2.2.5.4. Image stabilization
      3. 2.3. Accessories
        1. 2.3.1. Tripods, monopods, and other braces
          1. 2.3.1.1. Picking the right tripod
          2. 2.3.1.2. Monopods
        2. 2.3.2. In search of the perfect tripod
          1. 2.3.2.1. Mini-tabletop
          2. 2.3.2.2. Small but not tiny
          3. 2.3.2.3. Emergency do-it-all
          4. 2.3.2.4. The pretty good tripod
          5. 2.3.2.5. The really good tripod
      4. 2.4. Camera Accessories
        1. 2.4.1. In-camera media/memory cards
        2. 2.4.2. Batteries
        3. 2.4.3. Filters
        4. 2.4.4. Hoods
        5. 2.4.5. Cable release or wireless remote
      5. 2.5. Basic Studio Accessories
        1. 2.5.1. Posing stools
        2. 2.5.2. Backgrounds and backdrops
    3. 3. Lighting Primer
      1. 3.1. Measuring Light
        1. 3.1.1. Using the in-camera light meter
          1. 3.1.1.1. Automatic metering
          2. 3.1.1.2. Center-weighted metering
          3. 3.1.1.3. Matrix metering
          4. 3.1.1.4. Spot metering
        2. 3.1.2. Using a handheld light meter
      2. 3.2. White Balance
      3. 3.3. Shooting Portraits Under Studio Lighting
        1. 3.3.1. Continuous lighting
          1. 3.3.1.1. Advantages of continuous lighting
          2. 3.3.1.2. Disadvantages of continuous lighting
          3. 3.3.1.3. Tungsten
          4. 3.3.1.4. Fluorescent
          5. 3.3.1.5. HID
        2. 3.3.2. Studio strobe lighting
          1. 3.3.2.1. Advantages of strobe lighting
          2. 3.3.2.2. Disadvantages of strobe lighting
          3. 3.3.2.3. Monoblock
          4. 3.3.2.4. Powerpack
      4. 3.4. Lighting Accessories
        1. 3.4.1. Softboxes
        2. 3.4.2. Umbrellas
        3. 3.4.3. Collapsible reflectors
        4. 3.4.4. Snoots
        5. 3.4.5. Barndoors
        6. 3.4.6. Honeycomb grids
        7. 3.4.7. Gobo
      5. 3.5. Setting Up Your Studio Lighting
        1. 3.5.1. Starter kit
        2. 3.5.2. Basic kit
        3. 3.5.3. Advanced kit
      6. 3.6. Portrait Lighting Basics
        1. 3.6.1. Standard setup
        2. 3.6.2. Main light
        3. 3.6.3. Fill light
        4. 3.6.4. Backlight
  7. II. Posing and Composing
    1. 4. Composing a Portrait
      1. 4.1. Portrait Types
      2. 4.2. The Portrait Recipe
      3. 4.3. Create a Strong Center of Interest
      4. 4.4. Using the Rule of Thirds
        1. 4.4.1. Headshots
        2. 4.4.2. Full or partial body
        3. 4.4.3. Environmental
        4. 4.4.4. Groups
      5. 4.5. Portrait Lighting Styles
        1. 4.5.1. Short lighting (far side)
        2. 4.5.2. Broad lighting (near side)
        3. 4.5.3. Front lighting
        4. 4.5.4. Back/rim lighting
      6. 4.6. Keep It Balanced
        1. 4.6.1. Color
        2. 4.6.2. Space
      7. 4.7. The Composition Roundup
    2. 5. Posing Techniques
      1. 5.1. Work With the Client
        1. 5.1.1. Ask the right questions
        2. 5.1.2. Decide on a composition
        3. 5.1.3. What your client needs to know
          1. 5.1.3.1. Hair
          2. 5.1.3.2. Makeup
          3. 5.1.3.3. Jewelry
          4. 5.1.3.4. Clothing
      2. 5.2. Casual Portrait Poses
      3. 5.3. Traditional Poses
      4. 5.4. Artistic and Creative Poses
      5. 5.5. Basic Principles of Posing
      6. 5.6. Posing Individuals
        1. 5.6.1. Posing the body
        2. 5.6.2. Posing the shoulders
        3. 5.6.3. Posing the head
        4. 5.6.4. Posing arms and hands
        5. 5.6.5. Posing feet and legs
      7. 5.7. Posing Couples
      8. 5.8. Posing Children, Families, and Small Groups
      9. 5.9. Pet Portraits
    3. 6. The Director's Chair
      1. 6.1. Using Enhancing Techniques
      2. 6.2. The Classic Poses
      3. 6.3. The Classic Lighting Styles
        1. 6.3.1. Lighting ratios
        2. 6.3.2. Keep your distance
        3. 6.3.3. Vertical position
        4. 6.3.4. Horizontal Position
      4. 6.4. The Common Challenges
        1. 6.4.1. Plus-size models
          1. 6.4.1.1. Waists
          2. 6.4.1.2. Hips and thighs
      5. 6.5. Shine, Gleam, and Glitter
        1. 6.5.1. Heads
        2. 6.5.2. Glasses
        3. 6.5.3. Noses, foreheads, and chins
      6. 6.6. All About Faces
        1. 6.6.1. Smiles and teeth
        2. 6.6.2. Cheeks
        3. 6.6.3. Chin and neck
        4. 6.6.4. Ears
        5. 6.6.5. Eyes
        6. 6.6.6. Face shape and texture
        7. 6.6.7. Forehead
        8. 6.6.8. Mouth
        9. 6.6.9. Nose
      7. 6.7. You're Ready to Shoot
  8. III. Into Action: Creating Portraits
    1. 7. Outdoor Portraiture
      1. 7.1. Working On Location
        1. 7.1.1. Advance scouting
        2. 7.1.2. Be a good guest
      2. 7.2. What Should Be In Your Bag
        1. 7.2.1. Lenses, filters, and attachments
          1. 7.2.1.1. Filters
        2. 7.2.2. Tripods and braces
        3. 7.2.3. Reflectors
        4. 7.2.4. Props
        5. 7.2.5. Miscellaneous gear
      3. 7.3. Shooting in Direct Sunlight
        1. 7.3.1. Using fill flash
        2. 7.3.2. Morning and evening light
          1. 7.3.2.1. Front lighting
          2. 7.3.2.2. Side lighting
          3. 7.3.2.3. Backlighting
        3. 7.3.3. Midday light
      4. 7.4. Shooting in Open Shade
        1. 7.4.1. Backgrounds
      5. 7.5. Shooting at Night
        1. 7.5.1. Playing with light
        2. 7.5.2. Problems with shooting at night
          1. 7.5.2.1. Noise
          2. 7.5.2.2. White balance
          3. 7.5.2.3. Working in the dark
      6. 7.6. Shooting in Adverse Weather Conditions
        1. 7.6.1. Rain, mist, and fog
          1. 7.6.1.1. Potential problems with shooting in the rain
        2. 7.6.2. Cold
          1. 7.6.2.1. Cold-weather camera care
          2. 7.6.2.2. Cold-weather model care
          3. 7.6.2.3. Post-shoot precautions
        3. 7.6.3. Heat
        4. 7.6.4. Wind
    2. 8. Interior Existing Light Portraiture
      1. 8.1. Working on Location
        1. 8.1.1. Advance scouting
        2. 8.1.2. Follow the rules
        3. 8.1.3. Take only what you need
      2. 8.2. What Should Be in Your Bag
        1. 8.2.1. Lenses, filters, and attachments
        2. 8.2.2. Tripods and braces
        3. 8.2.3. Reflectors
        4. 8.2.4. Backdrops
        5. 8.2.5. Props
        6. 8.2.6. Makeup
        7. 8.2.7. Portable lighting
      3. 8.3. Working with Natural and Mixed Light
        1. 8.3.1. Common problems and solutions
          1. 8.3.1.1. Where to shoot?
          2. 8.3.1.2. Not enough light?
          3. 8.3.1.3. Too much light?
        2. 8.3.2. Taking advantage of the conflict
        3. 8.3.3. Choosing the light direction
        4. 8.3.4. Stunning shots using backlight
        5. 8.3.5. Backlighting tips
        6. 8.3.6. Using windows, doors, and other frames
      4. 8.4. Working with Artificial Light
        1. 8.4.1. Common problems and solutions
          1. 8.4.1.1. Distractions
          2. 8.4.1.2. Coping with unwanted color cast
      5. 8.5. Special Lighting Conditions
        1. 8.5.1. Stages, theatres, and clubs
          1. 8.5.1.1. Photographing from a distance
          2. 8.5.1.2. Photographing up close
          3. 8.5.1.3. The universal solutions to shooting performance venues
        2. 8.5.2. Portraits with fire and candlelight
    3. 9. Studio Portraiture
      1. 9.1. Studio Backgrounds
        1. 9.1.1. Enhance, never overwhelm
        2. 9.1.2. Background color counts
        3. 9.1.3. Props
          1. 9.1.3.1. Children's props
          2. 9.1.3.2. Multipurpose props
      2. 9.2. Clothing
      3. 9.3. Vignetting in the Studio
      4. 9.4. Theme, Art, and Abstract Portraits
        1. 9.4.1. Using Graphic Shapes
        2. 9.4.2. Creating Shapes with Light
      5. 9.5. Black-and-White and Toned Portraiture
      6. 9.6. From Pose to Print: The Portrait Sequence
        1. 9.6.1. Plan and plan again
        2. 9.6.2. Get your lighting set
        3. 9.6.3. After the model arrives
        4. 9.6.4. Costumes and props
        5. 9.6.5. Perfecting the pose
        6. 9.6.6. Metering and taking test shots
        7. 9.6.7. Review, repose, and shoot
        8. 9.6.8. After the model is gone
  9. IV. Post-Production and Presentation
    1. 10. The Digital Darkroom
      1. 10.1. About Image-Editing Software
      2. 10.2. The Darkroom Hardware
        1. 10.2.1. Adobe system requirements
        2. 10.2.2. Display
        3. 10.2.3. Monitor calibration tool
        4. 10.2.4. Video card
        5. 10.2.5. Hard drives
        6. 10.2.6. DVD burner
      3. 10.3. Alternatives to Photoshop
      4. 10.4. Getting to Know Photoshop Elements
      5. 10.5. Best Practices
        1. 10.5.1. Use the layers, Luke
        2. 10.5.2. Nondestructive editing
        3. 10.5.3. Saving multiple versions
        4. 10.5.4. File formats
      6. 10.6. Working with RAW Files
        1. 10.6.1. Using Camera RAW
        2. 10.6.2. Using RawShooter essentials
        3. 10.6.3. Using native software
      7. 10.7. Read, Listen, and Learn
    2. 11. Basic Image Editing
      1. 11.1. Professional Diligence
      2. 11.2. Best-Practice Editing Process
        1. 11.2.1. Step 1: Crop, resize, and fix resolution
        2. 11.2.2. Step 2: Correct or enhance tonal quality
        3. 11.2.3. Step 3: Fine-tune and correct problems
        4. 11.2.4. Step 4: Sharpen and clarify
      3. 11.3. Perfect the Tonal Quality
        1. 11.3.1. Adjusting levels
          1. 11.3.1.1. Using a Levels adjustment layer
          2. 11.3.1.2. Using the Shadow/Highlight tool
        2. 11.3.2. Dodging and burning
        3. 11.3.3. Using an overlay layer
        4. 11.3.4. Correcting color casts
          1. 11.3.4.1. Sampling a neutral area
          2. 11.3.4.2. Applying digital filters
      4. 11.4. Fine-Tuning and Correcting
        1. 11.4.1. Using the Healing tool
        2. 11.4.2. Using the Clone tool
        3. 11.4.3. Using the Patch tool
      5. 11.5. Sharpen and Clarify
    3. 12. Finishing Touches
      1. 12.1. Make Eyes Sparkle
      2. 12.2. Removing Red Eye
        1. 12.2.1. Using the Red Eye Removal tool
        2. 12.2.2. Removing red eye manually
      3. 12.3. Whitening Eyes and Teeth
        1. 12.3.1. Whiten and brighten eyes
          1. 12.3.1.1. Whiten
          2. 12.3.1.2. Brighten
        2. 12.3.2. Whitening teeth
      4. 12.4. Soft-Focus Effects
      5. 12.5. Center Spot with Outer Blur
      6. 12.6. Vignettes
      7. 12.7. Color and Tone Conversions
      8. 12.8. Creating Sepia-Toned Images
      9. 12.9. Saving Files
        1. 12.9.1. A word about printing
        2. 12.9.2. Continuous tone versus ppi or dpi
        3. 12.9.3. Resolution
        4. 12.9.4. What size, resolution, and type?
      10. 12.10. Go Forth and Make Portraits
    4. A. References and Resources
      1. A.1. 4-H Style Portraiture
      2. A.2. 500 Poses!
      3. A.3. A Little History
      4. A.4. About
      5. A.5. Business
      6. A.6. Career Advice from iseek
      7. A.7. Color Theory — RGB and CMYK
      8. A.8. Complete Digital Photography
      9. A.9. Digital Imaging Links
      10. A.10. Doing the Math
      11. A.11. Glossary of Photographic Terms
      12. A.12. The History of Portraiture
      13. A.13. The Learning Page — More History
      14. A.14. Joe Zeltsman Knows a Lot of Things
      15. A.15. Ken Rockwell
      16. A.16. Lights, Camera, Alien Bees?
      17. A.17. Online Training Library
      18. A.18. Photoshop Support
      19. A.19. Retouching Techniques
      20. A.20. Setting Up Group Portraits
      21. A.21. Stock Work
        1. A.21.1. The Relationships category
        2. A.21.2. The Self-Expression category
        3. A.21.3. Other stock companies
    5. B. Going Into Business
      1. B.1. Basic Business Setup
        1. B.1.1. Business license
        2. B.1.2. Business banking account
        3. B.1.3. Insurance
        4. B.1.4. Join professional or trade organizations
        5. B.1.5. Supplier and photo lab arrangements
      2. B.2. Costs
        1. B.2.1.
          1. B.2.1.1. Startup costs
          2. B.2.1.2. Overhead costs
        2. B.2.2. Operating costs
      3. B.3. Pricing Your Services
        1. B.3.1. Check the competition
        2. B.3.2. Calculate your base rate
        3. B.3.3. Pricing commercial work
          1. B.3.3.1. Pricing retail work
        4. B.3.4. Pricing prints
        5. B.3.5. Model releases
      4. B.4. Marketing Your Business
        1. B.4.1. Define the target market
        2. B.4.2. Create a portfolio
          1. B.4.2.1. Go get 'em, Tiger