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People Photography

01/11/08 6:27 PM GMT
Many people have wondered why images of relatives and other people are considered or rejected as snapshots even when they have worked to make sure none of the obvious pointers are there. Like the ones of the sofa with the afghan over it and the doorway in the background. Therefore, the following is an explanation of why what they see is not necessarily what the objective viewer sees.

People shots are tricky for a simple reason - most people are fooled by what they see on the faces of people they know. If you know and have a direct connection to the person you are photographing, you know what certain looks and expressions mean - that in the assembly of that particular face, the slight quirking of lips is an impish "I've got a secret". This happens even more clearly when the person is looking straight into the camera because they're establishing a direct connection with the photographer. What you as a photographer need to establish is a connection with a wider audience - a look or emotion displayed that is clear to anyone.

If you look through the People gallery, you'll see that rarely is the person looking @ the camera - usually they're looking either off in the distance or @ least 3 paces to the right of the camera. By doing this, you break the connection of the eyes which establish nothing for the average viewer, and allow the face as a whole to be seen better. At that point the face has to have some emotion that is visible to people who don't know the subject - this is the point that will be hardest for you to identify - to take that step back and say "If I didn't know him, would I think that's a thoughtful look on his face?" or a smile of joy or any other expression. On the rare occasion that you do have the person looking at the camera, have them look from the corner of their eyes, or under their eyelids. These are much more likely to be successful at conveying a direct emotion/connection to the viewer without it being one only you as the photographer sees.

The exception to this is Portrait Photography - which should be in a structured staged setting with lighting that plays with the details and structure of a person's face. Details like hair should be smoothed out, don't have stray pieces stick up or out (works best if you smooth before shooting) - and in this the face should be expressive in some way that allows a direct connection with the viewer.

The eyes are all important in Portrait Photography - and the view has to look not @ the camera, but through it to connect with the viewer. philcUK found a great example for me here, and there's another one here. While both of these examples are b&w, color will work well too as long as it's properly lit. To a certain extent, you want to view your subject as a still life - what's important in a still life? Appeal/interest of subject. Composition and lighting. Every time. 8)
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One man sees things and says "why?" - but I dream things that never were and I say "why not?"


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01/11/08 10:53 PM GMT
here's a couple of my fav people portraits (both coloured).. the eyes say it all

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MY GALLERY ........... "Live one day at a time and make it a masterpiece"
01/11/08 10:59 PM GMT
Being a big fan of people's photos, I really appreciate this new thread.
I agree about the eyes, but there is another style that attracts me a lot (Link).
The movement is a true expression for a good people capture.
This people gallery is certainly the most difficult to manage, but for me this is maybe the best of caedes.
Congratulations to all the artists here!
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01/11/08 11:06 PM GMT
Pierre that's a great example of what I was talking about in the first part - the image is not about the child, but the child's enjoyment of the fountain - memories which I'm sure many of us can relate to. 8)
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One man sees things and says "why?" - but I dream things that never were and I say "why not?"
01/12/08 12:45 AM GMT
YOU just gotta luv THIS HOTT COUPLE !!


Next time I'm going double or nothin'!!
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Why do the pictures come out square when the lens is round?? Picture Purrrfect .
01/12/08 2:25 AM GMT
I agree with the animaniac, if you do upload these things they should be composed and too many relative pictures ARE NOT
I have some amazing shots of my Niece, but they are not spectacular or composed in any super wonderful manner.
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"Freedom is the right of all sentient beings" -Optimus Prime
01/12/08 4:31 AM GMT
Sometimes though you just get lucky despite breaking all the rules as perhaps THIS one proves. No eye contact,an unknown subject, no posing - a point and shoot with lucky timing. The voters were not very impressed, but it seems to have done ok.
I would suggest that if you think your image has 'something' try uploading it but dont be upset if it is rejected. This one of mine was a 'take a chance' one and I was prepared to be disappointed. What Cat says is so true - being personally involved with the subject you see nuances that others dont and it is therefore difficult to predict what others may read into it.
Striving to portray an emotion rather than a cute little kiddie is quite difficult, and as I already said - often more luck than management :)
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The question is not what you look at, but what you see ~ Marcel Proust
01/12/08 12:47 AM GMT
Actually Lyn, that's another great example - if you notice, nowhere in the 1st portion did I say the person should be posed - in fact that's what you want to avoid. You've done a great job there of letting the image tell a story and using the child to illustrate it. 8)
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One man sees things and says "why?" - but I dream things that never were and I say "why not?"
01/12/08 4:16 PM GMT
Now I know, why this "OLD MAN" has a low score!, not because he is very ugly, but he is looking into the camera!!!!!.......(LOL)
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MY PHOTOGRAFIC VISION... I am not an artist, I only let you see with my eyes...!
01/12/08 11:12 PM GMT
actually, no. The shot's blurred, and the highlights are blown out. I'm guessing that might've played a larger role than where your subject was looking. The fact that he's looking right into the camera makes the shot, in terms of composition.
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Please, even if you don't visit my gallery, check out my "Faves".I've left them intact since day "1", and would like it if every image there got the attention they deserved.
01/13/08 5:59 AM GMT
I think the framing in that shot is also not ideal... as a subject I think he is terrific...
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-Everyone is entitled to my opinion-
01/13/08 11:14 AM GMT
I know this is not the thread "request for comment", but anyway
thank you Rob, and Sam, for your honest opinion!
Although I was a bit disapointed about the comments, I
hope all caedes members will tell their honest thoughts, in a comment!, instead of all the 'Beautyfuls', 'Gorgeouses', and 'excellents', etc:!
I realise that I have to learn a lot on photographic works!
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MY PHOTOGRAFIC VISION... I am not an artist, I only let you see with my eyes...!
01/13/08 12:11 AM GMT
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MY PHOTOGRAFIC VISION... I am not an artist, I only let you see with my eyes...!

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