Take and edit your digital picture, print it out
Now we will do all the things we've been preparing for.
7. Relax and Pose Your Subject.
I feel I know something about her personality from her pose. She's involved in the picture.
As we discussed earlier, the best portraits portray the person naturally. Just as they shouldn't be over made-up, so, too, they shouldn't be over posed. Emotional preparation is very subjective, but very important. The last thing you want is a picture that looks phony.
As a photographer, it is your job to get to know your subject. See how they smile, what their face expresses when they think intently, show interest, and so forth. Make a mental note of what moods capture one of their essences. It's a good idea to have a conversation with your subject before you start taking pictures.
Facial features are very sensitive, tension shows up clearly. You want your subject to be relaxed, so keep conversing with them to do that.
Unlike this one, where she is just posing.
Famous director Clint Eastwood never started shooting a scene with the cry, "Action!" He says, correctly, that all that accomplishes is to tense up the actor, making it even harder to get a good performance. Instead, he would just signal the cameras to start rolling and gently suggest the actors begin the scene.
Plan to take lots of pictures, because in the course of shooting, your subject will loosen up and become more natural. Additionally, you may have a great picture with a technical glitch. Having other similar pictures gives you some backup, and you may be able to copy and paste from a close runner-up into your best image.
Talk about personality!
Since you may want to crop your pictures in order to print them, remember to leave some room around your subject's head.
- Talk to your subject and get to know their natural expressions.
- Relax them with ongoing conversation.
- Elicit those expressions with conversation and capture them on film.
- Take lots of pictures, leave headroom.
8. Digitally Edit Photos.
This is a whole world unto itself, so I shall just touch on the main points. They are: lighting balance, composition, fixing things and file formats.
When you import your digital image to your computer, you want a decent image editing software program to finish the job. Any program worth its salt has the basic editing functions you will need, but the higher end programs and solid shareware programs will have more creative filters, letting you pursue more interesting effects.
If you did your job properly, your lighting and contrast should be almost perfect. Some small adjustments may be necessary. Beware of dramatic changes, because they can distort pixel information. Adding too much contrast, for example, and cause subtle shades to turn white or black.
Hand in hand with lighting balance comes color adjustment. You can add saturation, which makes your colors more vivid, or slightly shift from one color tone to another. For example, if a light caused a slight bluish tinge, you can move the image towards yellow in order to compensate. Again, use sparingly.
An important tool for flash users is redeye removal. You select the eye with a selector tool and apply this effect and, voilą, all better.
If there are imperfections you need to fix, I find the most useful tool to be the "clone" tool. What this does is allow you to "paint" a part of an image with another part. For example, if there's an electric outlet on the wall behind your subject, it's easy to remove. You set the source location on a spot on the wall that is clear and similar in color and lighting to the spot where the outlet is. Then, you just paint over the outlet with clean wall.
If you plan to print your pictures, know ye that digital cameras shoot at a 4:3 proportion. That means that for 4 x 6 inches, which have a ratio of 3:2, or 8 x 10 inches, which are 4:5, you will need to do some cropping. For that reason, you left margin room in your picture. In your editor software, you can set "canvas size" to the same measurements as your intended printing paper, and thus you will know how to properly crop your picture.
Finally, how you save your picture is important. Using a high-resolution camera is worthless if you save the pictures you take at low resolution. Keep an eye on that setting. Internet pictures are different, opting for lower resolution and smaller file size. If you are saving your image for internet, make sure you first save a copy on your computer at high-resolution (300 dpi minimum).
Compression shrinks file size dramatically, and can also do damage. Some formats -- .bmp and .tif-- do not cause any loss of data. But the popular .jpg does. Your image editor should ask you how much compression to use. For your high-resolution copy, always opt for the maximum quality setting which gives you the least compression. For your internet version, you can use a medium or low setting. I recommend that you close the image and reopen it after saving for internet before posting it just to make sure that compression wasn't too much and didn't cause damage.
- Gently adjust lighting, contrast, and color balance in your photo editing software -- if necessary.
- If you used the camera flash, apply redeye removal if the subject has it.
- Use the clone cool to erase and fix any imperfections.
- If you will print your image, set the image canvas setting to the same measurements as the paper you will use. Crop your image as necessary.
9. Print Your Pictures.
What do you plan to do with your photos? If you want to share them with friends, then you can print them on photo paper in your own inkjet. Laser printers don't seem to do so well with photos, so inkjets are preferable.
If you are an actor and want these photos to be your headshots, you should go to a professional printing service. They will ensure good quality and a reasonable price for the quantities that you will need.
When printing your own photos, make sure that the photo's size will fit on your paper. Often, by clicking on the "properties" tab of the printer driver -- after you've clicked print -- you'll see an option to "fit to paper." That will solve any size problems.
If you wish to print a number of pictures on one page, here is how I do it. I use either a graphics program or, at the very least, a good word processing program that supports images. I import whatever pictures I'd like, size them and place them where I want them on the page. Then I print that page. Graphics editors, such as CorelDRAW, let you create a montage by overlapping and fading from one image to another. Word processors can work fine, though, if all you need to do is line up pictures and print them.
Printers also offer various quality settings. The higher the quality, the better the picture is, but you will use more ink and time in the process. I recommend doing a test print at low quality on regular paper. When satisfied, place photo paper in your printer, click the properties button and set your printer settings to photo paper / high quality and print your masterpiece.
- Take high quantity and professional quality jobs to a professional printer.
- Set your image size to fit on the paper, or adjust the printer properties to "fit to page."
- Prepare multiple photos on one page in a graphics editor or word processor.
- Set your printer quality to low/fast and print a test page on plain paper.
- When satisfied, set your printer properties to photo paper/high quality, put photo paper in and print your portrait.
Congratulations! I hope this guide to photographing people use of service to you. Enjoy, look beautiful, and real!