My previous blog post touched on location selection and some elements such as lighting, color harmony/wardrobe to achieve an aesthetically pleasing portrait. There are so many elements, so I will be tackling a few at a time. TEXTURE AND PATTERNS MAKE GREAT BACKGROUNDS AND FOREGROUNDS. Brick, cobblestone, tile, and wood to name a few. There are many ways to make your subject stand out against a background, such as control of lighting, depth of field, and distance between background and subject. People naturally tend to lean right up against the background, and while there are some instances this is effective, generally you want your subject to be at least 4 feet, and as far as 10 feet from the background. This creates separation so your subject stands out.
CHANGE PERSPECTIVE BY PHOTOGRAPHING FROM A DIFFERENT ANGLE OR POSITION. I rarely photograph subjects standing straight toward them. I stand on a small step stool for most of my shots. You don’t have to stand so tall that the subject is looking up like puppy dog eyes (you just looked up didn’t you!!) a step or two is usually all it takes. Shooting from higher up is also more flattering for subjects that are self conscious of their weight. This perspective also helps if a subject has small eyes, it helps open them up.
A foreground can be used to draw attention or frame your subject. You may have seen photos with tree branches, leaves, wheat field grass in front of the subject. In this case, the rail with the continued circle pattens are in the foreground. You can find many textures and beautiful backgrounds at Belmont. This location is a favorite among local photographers. Belmont Estate was the home and studio of prominent artist, Gari Melchers. I definitely recommend visiting the beautiful grounds, which also has a museum gift shop and visitor center. https://www.garimelchers.org/ Please note: If you are a professional photographer, your are required to pay a session fee, but with endless backgrounds, it’s worth it.
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