November 2013
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5 Photo Tips – Shooting portraits – Clothes for the portrait (contd..)

This is a new series of posts that I am doing on portraits, with the current set of posts focusing on color. The last such post (Colors of dresses and seasons) was about the color of dresses worn by subjects as a part of portraits and the correlation with the ongoing season.
When you think about portraits, you might think about getting a tripod for some rock-stable shots, about posing, about checking for light / exposure, whether to use Prime or Zoom lenses, or so on. All of these are important, but it is also important to understand the overall environment related to portraits – this could be the color of the environment, this could be the types of clothes being worn, and so on. However, a fair warning is that once you get into subjective parameters, opinions could change, the requirements could change, and so on, so change and twist these tips below into the way you want. And of course, some of this also varies depending on whether you are just doing this at a strictly amateur level and don’t care too much about the results, or are experimenting with portraits and want to tweak the settings. So here goes:

Tip 1256 (Matching colors of everybody present): When you have a group portrait, and this is a planned event, then attention needs to be paid to the colors chosen for all the clothes. So, it is not necessary that you choose white, or choose a light color, or a dark color; what you need to do is to ensure that everybody is wearing colors that match with each other and do not stand out separate from the others to a jarring level. For example, if you are having people wear tan colors, then ensure that everybody is wearing clothes of tan colors.

Tip 1257 (Colors and the eyes): It may seem a bit dramatic, but when you are looking to fine-tune the portrait, then this is another angle to look at. Depending on the colors of the eyes, there are certain colors that can make the eyes of the subject seem to stand out. Obviously this only works when you are doing a close-up shot where the color of the eyes can be made out, and when the eyes are looking towards the camera or close enough. So, when the eyes are bluish, then a bluish tinge to the clothes or to the surroundings can make the eyes seem as standing out.

Tip 1258 (Bright colors can over-power the face): Bright colors, such as bright shades of red or yellow, or even green, can seem like great shades to wear when you are looking at a portrait. However, one aspect to keep in mind is that having such bright colors for clothes can tend to over-shadow the face. When you creating a portrait, you expect the viewer to look at the face in the portrait, but bright colors can draw the attention of the viewers and the face comes second.

Tip 1259 (Consult the photographer before the shoot): When you are going for a planned shoot with a photographer, don’t just go there in whatever you are wearing. If you are going with friends or family, consults with the photographer in advance, since many photographers have good information about colors that match well with what others are wearing, or know about colors that match skin tone and come out well in photos, and other such tips.

Tip 1260 (Adjust colors of clothes and background to get attention to the face): A number of these tips and previous ones eventually hope to point you to the common direction. For a good portrait, you need to ensure that the colors match well, and also coordinate the clothes and the background so that viewer attention goes to the face. So, if you have a strong color of clothes, a solution is to have the background of a similar color, and this duality ensures that viewer attention goes to the different part of the photo, which is typically the face of the subject.

Gregory Heisler: 50 Portraits Family Portrait Photography 95 Inspiring Ideas for Photographing Your Friends

Some videos from youtube on Portraits:

Portrait Photography : How to Dress for a Portrait Sitting

Portrait Photography with Graham Monro

Natural light 50mm portrait photography

Direction of Light: Your Key to Better Portrait Photography

5 Min Portrait – Portrait Photography Full Photo Shoot

Read more about this in the next post (Clothes colors and portraits)

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