The TRUTH About Anthony Barimbao Castillo Thonixs and Darna Umayam Photography Lessons

September 22, 2012 by  
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The TRUTH About Anthony Barimbao Castillo Thonixs and Darna Umayam Photography Lessons

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Bracketing is a technique photographers use to ensure they capture an image. When bracketing an exposure, a photographer will take a number of shots of the same image with different metered exposures. If a photographer can’t properly meter a scene (because of odd lighting, etc.), they will use the bracketing method. Amateur photographers tend to use bracketing more, as it opens up room for error while allowing them to learn how metered exposures work. These days, many cameras come equipped with an auto-bracketing feature that will automatically shift the exposure setting in between shots when turned on. While bracketing may seem like a useful technique for learning photographers however, it can also be tedious and wasteful. Having a series of pictures of the same image on the same roll means that you not only have to go through all of them, but you will ultimately have to dispose with most of them. Similarly, overuse of bracketing eventually gets expensive, as more film needs to be purchased to capture all of the necessary shots. Consequently, some experts recommend limiting the use of the bracketing technique. The best times to bracket exposures tends to be when lighting is particularly difficult, such as extreme light or dark. Bounce Lighting, generally used in portrait photography, is lighting that bounces off a particular source (such as an umbrella, wall or blank drop down sheet) to surround the central object with light. Through the use of bounce lighting, a photograph will have fewer shadows and softer lighting that doesn’t appear to originate from a particular source. Bounce lighting can also be created by reflecting light off a ceiling or an aluminized reflector. Overall, portraits taken with bounce lighting present the central object or person in a natural looking light. Given that bounce lighting can only work through reflection, it also, by definition, tends to be used in more confined, smaller areas where such reflection is possible. Larger areas can’t trap light as well and, therefore, are not the best spaces for itto be utilized. Bounce lighting is a form of ambient light because, like ambient light, bounce light indirectly illuminates the central object of a photo. Not only does it create a more natural feel to a scene, but it also lends a degree of warmth and serenity to the picture. When using bounce lighting for your photos, keep in mind that the further a camera is away from the central object, the dimmer the resulting image will be. Less light in the finished photo tends to produce softer, potentially weaker images. In simple terms, contemporary portrait photography is a photograph of a person, usually focused on the face. While many immediately think of contemporary portraiture as pictures taken by a professional photographer, it can also include candid photos taken by amateur shutterbugs. In either case, the goal of contemporary portraits is to capture the physical likeness, as well as the personality, of the subject. Contemporary Portraits of the PastLooking at what past generations considered to be contemporary portraiture reveals how early photographers and models weren’t always concerned with capturing personality. In part, this was due to long exposure times on antiquated cameras that forced the photographed person to sit or stand very still for extended periods of time. Occasionally, head clamps were used to keep people in position for the duration of the exposure. Imagine trying to capture personality while having your subject’s head in a clamp!
Contemporary Portrait TipsAlthough amateur photographers may lack the studio and other professional equipment, they can still produce professional looking contemporary portraits. The following portrait tips can help produce photographs full of life and personality. Know Your Subject: Often this aspect of contemporary portraits is easier for the amateur photographer than the professional, as amateurs are more likely to take photos of friends and family members (i.e., people they already know). Little mannerisms are reliable windows into personal character. Peculiar smiles or unique facial expressions may be the feature that helps you capture your subject’s personality. Contemporary portraiture can also use a person’s interests or hobbies to enhance the personality and life of a photo. If two people are always together, take their picture together. If an uncle loves to fish, capture him in his favorite fishing hat. Professional photographers get to know their subjects by drawing them into conversation and studying them carefully. Amateurs taking pictures of people they know well have a real advantage in this regard. Portray the Person, Not the Landscape: Contemporary portrait photography, by definition, focuses on the person, not the surroundings. A portrait’s power can be lost if the subject is surrounded by scenery. However, a photographer can still enhance a portrait with props as long as he makes the person the central focus in the contemporary portraiture. The key here is to include the most telling and significant details related to your subject. For example, instead of taking a portrait of a gardener surrounded by his favorite rose bushes, have him hold his pruning shears and a freshly cut rose. This tells the portrait viewer something about the person without losing the subject in his surroundings. Say Cheese, or Not: Contemporary portrait photography doesn’t always need a smiling face, especially if the smile seems fake and unnatural-some people have a “photo smile” that can look forced or less than genuine. A thoughtful or solemn look may better suit the personality of your subject. A faraway look can say more about the subject than a focused one. Candid Shots: Some people are naturally photo-shy, making portrait photography a real challenge. In such cases, try taking candid portraits-pictures taken when they’re unaware of the camera. Candid shots can produce evocative contemporary portraits that catch people absorbed in an activity they enjoy. For the truly camera shy, experts of contemporary portrait photography have an unusual suggestion: wait until they’re asleep. Whether your subject is a newborn or a great-grandparent, portraits of the face at rest tend to show your subject at his most vulnerable and calmest. Lightingand Composition: As with any other photographic technique, contemporary portrait photography uses lighting and basic composition to create a mood. A portrait with half the face in shadow creates a remarkably different look than one taken in full sunlight. In terms of composition, the position of the person is also of importance. Avoid face-on and profile photos that tend to give the photograph a police mug shot feel. Instead, try shooting the face from a variety of angles: start with half-profiles, where the face is halfway between full-on and profile. Famous Portrait PhotographersThe two best portrait tips that can be offered are simple. First, experiment as much as possible. Second, study the work of famous contemporary portrait photographers. Some of the best examples of contemporary portraiture can be found in the works of the following artists:Carrie Mae Weems’ contemporary portrait photography focuses on the politics and the culture of African-Americans.Nicholas Nixon’s work has includes portraits of HIV patients and a series of portraits of his wife and her sister spanning 25 years. He specializes in black and white portraiture.Sally Mann works in black and white, as well as in color. She is known for her nude portraits of family and young women.Dawoud Bey arranges multiple portraits in sequence, allowing the viewer to see the changes in expression from moment to moment.Nan Goldin focuses her photography on heroin addicts, proving that contemporary portraiture can send powerful messages.Cindy Sherman uses herself as the subject for her contemporary portraiture although her work evokes much more than “mere” self-portraits.

Other sources of inspiration for contemporary portrait photography can be found in magazines, art books and Internet collections of contemporary portraiture. Contemporary portrait photography is often what people seek when they hire a professional photographer. By following some simple portrait tips, even an amateur photographer can produce interesting contemporary portraiture.

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I gladly offer this basic, 5-part series of photography lessons FOR FREE! Our world has become increasingly visual in the way we communicate. We not only take more pictures, we show them, send them and display them to more eyes than ever before. Wouldn’t it be nice to capture and show better pictures? In this series, I get us thinking about… 1. How to tell a story with our photographs by understanding the 4 dimensions associated with the art. 2. The basic elements of “composing” our photographic story. How do we put things in our viewfinders so people get the essence of that moment that inspired us. 3. Understanding exposure, light and color and how they combine to say what we want. 4. How lens choice and operation effects focus and how focus effects what we show in our photos 5. The people in our photographs and the people we are showing them to. Please enjoy these lessons. They’re not meant to be comprehensive and their not meant to be exhaustive or advanced. That doesn’t mean I don’t encourage any questions you might want to post for either me to try to answer or anyone else who comes along. Please, be kind, helpful and enjoy.
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