Portraits

Photographing Men

Photographing Men

I find there is quite a difference photographing men to photographing portraits of women.  The way I shoot and approach my subjects anyway.  Perhaps I’ve changed over the years and become a bit seasoned with age.  Don’t know for sure. 

Posing, editing, lighting, all these I do a little differently.  It has been said that one should first learn the rules extremely well, and only then one can or should be able, if one wants, to break them.

Shoot one style to the point there is no ‘thinking’ involved.  Then test the boundaries. 

It all goes back to what the photo, or you and the model, are communicating.  For example, having the shoulders of the model square on to the camera is normally a pose for a man or boy.  Women often, one might pose with one shoulder back and the other forward.  One pose is more aggressive than the other.  One might be interpreted to invite you in whereas the other might be telling you to piss off. 

One of the aspects of photographing men I’ve come to like is being able to play more with textures and contrasts in the editing.  Generally, it is frowned upon to show a woman’s ‘flaws’.  Again, it’s all about how and what you are trying to communicate.  A bit of what is accepted and what people want to view. 

That said, check out these few photos of Jordan.  He should likely be modelling but that’s up to him. 

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Lightroom Workflow

Lightroom Workflow

Lightroom

This is my workflow for portraits/headshots. I’m sure that I do other stuff than this but here is a general outline:

  1. If needed, lighten exposure to see enough detail
  2. Crop to desired shape.  Use Golden Rectangle.  Use Command-O  to change overlay.  Place a key element at ‘cross lines’.  Or have one of the vertical lines go up through centre of face, for example in a portrait.
  3. Overall: I play with Exposure/Contrast/Clarity/Saturation to get the balance the way I like.  If I up the Clarity and Contrast almost always drop the Saturation. 
  4. I’ll also play with the Highlights/Shadows/Whites/Blacks.  This can open up shadows and tone down the highlights if necessary. 
  5. Eyes: Adjustment Brush (I bought Sean Archer’s Lens Lab add ons  for the Adjustment Brush.  They are really handy.  https://lenslab.com/products/sean-archer-collection)
  6. Iris enhancement: If the eyes are pretty much evenly lit, I do both with same overlay.  If they have different amounts of light, I click ‘new’ for each iris.  Don’t overdo them but bring them up so that they can be seen.  If you are shooting outside and there is no ‘glint’ in the eye from a reflector, this will help with that. 
  7. Dark edge of iris: Click ‘New’ on Adjustment Brush and go to ‘Darken’.  Use your mouse to make circle small.  (You can also use the square brackets for this [ ] to make bigger or smaller.  Sometimes better control of the size this way.) Go around the very edge of the iris, not going onto the white of the eye. 
  8. Whiten eyes: Click ‘New’ on Adjustment Brush and click on ‘Lighten’.  Go over the white parts of the eyes.
  9. Click ‘New’ again and use ‘Lash and Brow Sharpen’ 
  10. Now but often later when I have done some other stuff, I may use ‘Lighten’, ‘Sharpen’ or ‘Clarity’ or a combination of more than on using a larger ‘circle’ over the whole eye/lid/brow area. 
  11. Whiten Teeth with Adjustment Brush.  You can customize.
  12. Lips: Use the LensLab colour of your choice.  Or just use Sharpen or Clarity
  13. Spot removal brush to get rid of blemishes.  This can be done in PS as well but pretty easy to do in LR
  14. Adjustment Brush: Soften skin or Soften Skin (light).  Depends on the skin.  Often ‘light’ is plenty.
  15. Adjustment brush: Lighten - use this to highlight/accent hair.  Don’t over do.
  16. Adjustment brush: Darken - Usually darken the background on portraits. Gradiently darker as it gets to the edges.  Do the whole background then hit ‘new’ leaving it on Darken and do further out in steps toward the edge.  You can also use Post-Crop Vignetting but using Darken Bruch gives you more control.
  17. Detail: For sharpening the image.  Hold the Option button down on your Mac keyboard.  Then slide the ‘Masking’ slider to the right.  This will sharpen just the edges.  Once you have got that over to 60-70 or so, you can slide the ‘Amount’ over to the right.  You may not want to use this on all photos but it’s a good tool to have.
  18. Make any other adjustments to Exposure/Clarity/etc like you did in step #3 and #4.
  19. I will then sometimes use Clarity/Sharpen/Lighten in Adjustment Brush for some piece of clothing or something in the background I may want to bring out a bit. 
  20. Photoshop: Go from LR to PS.  Use Liquify Tool to billow out the hair a bit on some of the ladies photos.
  21. PhotoShop: Get rid of any background items that are distracting.
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Portrait of Gerry

Portrait of Gerry

Black and White Portrait

My Friend Gerry

I asked my friend Gerry a while back if I could do some photos with him.  He has a great look.  Setting it up last week, he said that we’d better hurry up; who knows how long he will be around. 

Gerry is in his mid eighties.  In season he works at the campground.  He has no real need to work from a financial aspect.  He has done well enough in life that he doesn’t have to worry about money.  But he is aware that work is more than that.  It’s good for the soul.

In a day when it is hard to get people to work because the government is constantly throwing money at them to keep them home, Gerry keeps on truckin’.   He likes it here and feels part of the group

It is too bad that more young people these days don’t understand that part of the joy of working is the joy of working.  Exchange for that is not always money. 

I got him to take a 10 minute break from work and with my Smithbilt cowboy hat and his truck as props we took 15-20 photos.  Below you will see four of the best from that shoot. 

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Some ‘Dark’ Photos with Owen

Some ‘Dark’ Photos with Owen

The world, if not exactly getting back to normal, is at least to the point where one can function more naturally.  With that I’m taking portraits again. 

My happy place.

Perfect lighting here most evenings and lots of space.  Last couple of photo shoots, I’ve been using an old Nikon 50mm 1.8 ‘E’ series lens.  This lens is likely about 50 years old.  I’ve had it for years and often when shooting I default to zoom lenses, even for portraits.  Zoom lenses are so easy.  Definitely great for candid shots but one does lose some quality/sharpness. 

So… I’m forcing myself to use a prime lens for these portraits.  This old ‘E’ series lens, in my Nikon D7500 acts as about a 75MM.  In a couple of days I will be able to compare these photos to some taken with a Nikon Z6 with the new ’S’ series 50MM.

I’m taking about fifteen minutes with each of these recent photo shoots.  I do about 30 photos.  Similar to film when one was limited to 24 or 36 exposures per roll.  Pretty sure newer photographers have no appreciation how inexpensive photography is in this current day and age. 

Hopefully, I will be shooting enough to post some new photos once or twice a week.  Subscribe to the newsletter or check back often.  If you subscribe to my ‘portrait’ Instagram account, you will get notification when there is new material.  IG: @portraits.by.martin

Call me now to set up your portrait session! (Contact)

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Warrior Women

Warrior Women

My Foray into Photoshop

I’ve been taking photos for years.  I always kinda wanted to learn Photoshop but I’m quite competent with Lightroom and have made do pretty well with that.  I could always find a way to do most of what I needed with Lightroom.  And silly as it sounds I always had difficulty understanding ‘layers’.  Fairly recently, having the need or desire to actually change a background and do a couple of other things that I couldn’t do well with Lightroom, I figured it out.

I was searching videos on how to emulate Sean Archer’s techniques.  I didn’t necessarily want to take the same photos but there were a few things that I liked about his photos, one being how he installed his backgrounds.  On Youtube, I came across Irene Rudnyk.  One simple video of hers helped everything fall into place.  I’m by no means an expert yet, ‘the devil is in the details’ and I need a lot of practice with those details but here are a few photos that where I changed the background to fit what I had envisioned when I took the original photo. 

There are certainly a number of factors that have to be taken into consideration when combining a couple of photos and I don’t know that I’ve done a perfect job on taking lighting into account with these but for me it was a blast.  I’m totally excited that I was able to get these three photos to the stage they are.

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Portrait or Landscape for Headshots?

Portrait or Landscape for Headshots?

Studio Headshots and Senior Portraits - Portrait or Landscape?

The standard for years for individual portrait photos is vertical.  Particularly headshots for actors and actresses.  With the advent of the internet and the wide computer screen, it is often more attractive to go with a horizontal exposure.  

There are other factors that can make this equally or even more appealing such as the use of negative space.  Negative space is part of the picture that is not your subject.  For example, if you were taking a photo of a tree or a couple of trees, then the space around and between the trees would be ‘negative’ space.  

Shooting wide or using a landscape or horizontal image can give you more of this negative space which can be quite effective if used wisely.  

I've included a few examples shooting in a landscape or horizontal mode.

This is a Senior shot for graduation.  The railway tracks add some dimension or depth to the photo without distracting from the main subject.

 

Here, in this next photo, the girl in the hat is turned ever so slightly to her right, so giving extra space in that direction makes it all look more natural.  And that space is used with light/shadow add some dynamic to the photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This next is from a series.  A studio headshot for an marvellous opera singer.  A series of simple headshot but using the wide frame.  Again, the body is turned, to the left this time, and giving space there, makes sense again.  The same with Mikayla in the outdoor shot (right). (We agreed that was the coldest of that type of photoshoot ever!)

               

 

 

 

 

 

The use of ‘Landscape’ layout allows for more creativity in many instances.  You can give more depth and focus to your image without in any way detracting from your main subject.   Use this negative space to take advantage of eye trail, perspective, colour and host of other techniques the will help focus on the person you are photographing.  Or some aspect of the person that you want to accentuate.

A ‘wide’ photo like this will actually look just fine and often better on websites and enlarged fit a computer screen almost perfectly.  If you do an image search for example for real estate agents, almost all of them are using the Landscape format.  Same for insurance agent.  And doctors.  These photos fit better on the screen.  And they can communicate much more.  That little bit of extra space can give dimension that is otherwise very difficult to create.

I also find, doing portraits using this wide frame aspect, allows for a more relaxed subject.  The person you are shooting has a bit more flexibility in movement and can appear to being ‘doing’ something instead of looking so static.  The wide frame portrait, if done reasonably well, will draw the viewer in.  And that’s always a good thing. 

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Model Portfolio Shoot

Model Portfolio Shoot

Niagara Falls, Buffalo, Toronto - model portfolios

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Comic Con Calgary 2017

Comic Con Calgary 2017

I've put most of the photos from Comic Con Calgary 2017 onto my Marty's Road Trip blog.  You can find them here: www.photo-photo.net

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Smoke

Smoke

Smoke...Portrait, headshot, boudoir...email me at martin (@) photo-photo .com  I'm in Calgary for a couple more months then Ontario.  Toronto/Niagara...

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Portrait of Alana

From a recent shoot with Alana. I'm moving to Ontario in Sept '17.  Will be available to Toronto, Buffalo and surrounds for portraits. 

Edit: I've been in Niagara Falls for a while now.  I recently have gone back and edited some photos using both Lightroom and Photoshop.  These were updated earlier this year (2021).  

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