March 2014
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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 (Clothes for the portrait) was about the clothes worn in the photo session and accessories.
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 1276 (Use simple garments): When looking at the choice of garments to wear for photos, a simple rule of thumb is that simple garments come out well in portrait photography. Of course there are exceptions to this, such as when you look at children or infants; in their case, colorful clothes come out well.

Tip 1277 (Wearing red): Wearing red clothes can seem to be a great fashion statement. However, it is an established factor that if you are wearing red clothes, or even wearing a red cap, it can be terribly distracting. This is even more of a problem when the photo has a higher exposure, or if there is a large amount of light in the photo. You can still wear red, but be sure that you know that there will be some amount of distraction.

Tip 1278 (Non-reflective glasses): Glasses can make a lot of difference to the portrayal of the face. If these are non-prescription glasses such as sunglasses or shades, then these would have a certain color or shade. One needs to check whether the color or design of these shades matches the clothes as a part of the portrait shot. If these are prescription glasses, then one still needs to check whether these are reflective glasses or not. With flashes being used for indoor portrait photography, reflective glasses can be a problem.

Tip 1279 (Get people to bring in multiple clothes): When going in for a formal portrait shoot, ask the subjects to get multiple choices of clothes, and these can be viewed and compared with the overall structure and clothes across the group. In this way, even though you may have a favorite dress, you may find that another dress or set of clothes is more suitable.

Tip 1280 (The photographer can get some clothes from his / her side): In several cases, it may turn out that the subjects do not get clothes that are suitable. I have known cases where photographers carry a set of clothes for men and women in different types, and these clothes end up getting used for the subjects rather than the clothes that they get.

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 the next post on more such tips at this link (Clothes for the portrait)

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