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

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 1251 (Don’t mix up light and dark colors): It may seem interesting to dress up with a mix of lighter and darker colors (and I am not talking about only white or black here) on a regular basis, but when you are going in for a portrait, try and ensure that the clothes do not really have a combination of darker and lighter colors. Stick to lighter shades when the environment about is lighter and relaxing, and when going in for a more somber or serious setting, then adopt the use of darker colors.

Tip 1252 (It’s a touchy subject): When you are doing a friendly portrait for somebody, keep in mind that when you give your suggestions about clothes, these suggestions may not be received as you might like. This is especially so since you have the belief that a right set of clothes, colors and shades can make a different in how the portrait comes out, but the person who is a part of the portrait may not have any understanding of this subject, and may not accept that clothes can make a difference to how a portrait comes out. There is a fine line between trying to make the person understand this, and causing irritation, so ensure that you do not cross that line (even though you may feel that you are doing them a favor by taking their photos and also suggesting the clothes of the portrait).

Tip 1253 (Clothes that attract too much attention): You would have heard the line, “Clothes makes the person”. However, there is such a thing as the clothes taking too much attention and becoming the primary focus of the portrait rather than the subject. As a similar example, when you look at the shoots of new lines of designer clothes, the basic idea is to focus on the clothes rather than the model. Even though this is an extreme case, do take into consideration the point that the clothes that are being worn by the subject do not take attention away from the subject. You do not want people to say after looking at the portrait, “What loovely clothes” rather than focus on the person.

Tip 1254 (Wear long sleeves): This may seem a bit off (or odd), but when you have a portrait of the upper body or the whole body, when you have the arms covered with long sleeves, viewer attention goes less to the arms and back to the primary exposed part of the party, the face (and one would assume that is what you are looking for, after all, who wants the viewers to focus on arms rather than on the face).

Tip 1255 (For slimming look, get darker colors): One of the most common queries that comes up during a portrait photo session is about ensuring that the portrait somehow makes a person look slimmer in the photo rather than showing the body size. Short of going into a tool such as Photoshop, one quick way of ensuring some amount of slimming shows up in the photo is by using darker colors. Lighter colors do not have that effect, and in some cases, can feel to emphasize the body size.

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

More tips for portraits and colors of clothes here (Clothes colors and portraits)

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