Sunday, February 14, 2016

Photographing People: A Few Portrait Photography Tips and Other Meetups!

Sapna portrait, taken by Neli, Camera Creativa
Lately, my life has mostly been made up of data collection absolute insanity for my PhD, lesson planning, teaching Llengua Anglesa II at the University of Barcelona, researching cities in Switzerland where I'm more likely to find a job afterwards, the gym, healthy eating recipes, doga with Kiara, French lessons with my tutor Sarah, and the disastrous world of online dating.

Sapna, exhausted after data collection
There have been a few fun Meetup group outings and time spent with the handful of us PhD students who hang out.  Friday night's  Langues et Solidarité meetup was incredible  - that's the one where we spent an hour speaking each of French, Spanish and English every week or two and donate a euro each to a charitable cause. Actually, the people are really great, so although we met for dinner (at a Chinese place called Chen Ji, where the vegetarian food took forever to come out. I had rice and bok choy, mushrooms and green beans, and a bit of tofu with amazing spicy sauce), we spent another two hours together having drinks in El Born. We spoke French and Spanish for most of the time. It's SO great to finally speak French again! I was really getting into it this time - so much so that switching back to Spanish was a momentary struggle. Ah, the linguistic concept of inhibitory control -  I have so many ideas for a post-doc now!

So, I thought I'd throw in a post about last weekend's Camera Creativa Photography meetup, in which we learned a few neat tricks for taking photos of people, something I find really difficult.  Well, I suppose it's easier than taking pictures of Kiara, since she doesn't really pose quite as well...

Here are some photos that Neli, a lady in my meetup group and I took.

Portrait Photography Tips

  • Get your subject to relax! This is the most difficult part
  • Everyone has a "good side"  Discover your subject's. (Actually, ask them, because apparently most people know this). I discovered that my best side is the left - I think, anyway!)
  • Try to take the photo from different angles (the subject staying where they are, with you moving)
  • When you are deciding how to frame the portrait before you take the shot, remember not to "cut people off" at their limbs  (ie: take a shot above the elbow, below the shoulder, above or below the knee) - otherwise they look quite deformed!
  • "Cropping" at the forehead works well too, because your eye knows that there's more hair above, and this helps place the focus on the person's face
  • Try blurring out the background for a great effect!
  • Remember to alternate between portrait and landscape shots - don't get too used to just one way!

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