Photography started and bloomed mainly due to portraits in olden days. The growth of portraits started from film and chemical based development to modern digital chip based (and interestingly film less) inventions and led several people to turn into professional photographers. Today, we see most of the urban households having cameras (from cell phone based to sophisticated DSLR’s) and taking pictures of family and friends frequently. Posting these pictures/portraits online on Internet and sharing the moments became easy and increased the use of cameras.

Indoor portraits to portraits became common and lately this topic transformed into action portraits to fashion/modeling portraits. Using Reflectors, Flash Fills, Backdrops, Studio lights and latest software to alter the RAW images enabled portrait photography to score excellent points in field of art. With simple techniques I know and limited knowledge I have, I took these Portraits as beginning steps in photography.

Indoor portraits are generally taken using most of these criteria like good lighting conditions, selecting good location, preferring the good mood of subject and allowing subject to relax with wonderful outfit and positioning the subject at ease to face camera.

Click on each picture to see in large format

 Indoor Photography on portraits..without settings. From a common mans perspective. Note the shadow behind the subject (my elder son Dinesh) and smooth surface as background, which bounced the light on left side of picture. Though details of person are clear, yet best features can be brought in photo using techniques.

Outdoor photography on portraits. With natural settings and light falling from an angle on face without any bouncers and deflectors, exposure for good details is attempted. Result is good with natural color and texture showing sharp features and facial expressions. Picture (of my dad) taken during evening sunlight.

Portrait photography need not necessarily be of smiley expressions and subjects positioned as models in a beautiful settings and environment. Funny situations and expressions can be captured in portrait mode with more focus on facial details in picture. Such attempt was made at outdoor setting, during morning daylight using 18-55 mm lens with f-stop 5 and exposure time with 1/800 (which is not usually selected by many photography experts) while kids are playing in a park. This snapshot is of my second son Deepesh.

Excellent example for indoor portrait photography. Took this picture of fellow student and friend  in my Photography class. Studio settings were arranged and under flood lights and beaming lights (from below, side and over) the picture was clicked using 70 mm focal length with f-stop at 4 and exposure time at 1/40 on ISO 800.

Another good example for expression photography. Indoor settings with studio arrangements. External flash was angled at 65 degrees over white shades of wall while firing. Black background was used to highlight only facial expressions with glow over face. Picture of another good friend of photography class I took.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Portrait Photos

    These pictures of my niece were taken casually when she was playing around. Taking pictures of toddlers and babies is pretty difficult since you need to have more patience as they are not aware of what your ideas are to snap good portraits. I followed her for few minutes and focused mostly to capture her facial expressions on side angles. External flash was used and was made to bounce in 45° angle, allowing only partial light to reflect on her face (shown in position 1). I am happy for getting nice results.

Lens at 55mm with f-stop at 5.6, Exposure rate at 1/60 and ISO 400.


I took these pictures of my nephew when he was playing around in my house. I grabbed his casual attention towards camera. I arranged  two external lights allowing light to reflect at center and right side of the subject (shown in position 2-notice the shadow at his collar). I used reflectors without backdrop to check the radiance.  I used low power lights to minimize the brightness and bounced the external flash at 65° angle.

Lens at 55mm with f-stop at 5.6, Exposure rate at 1/40 and ISO 400.

I took this picture when a boy was playing with bubbles and was in very happy mood. I called him and quickly captured his mood into picture in surprise. If kids are aware of camera being focused at them they become more conscious and deviate from natural expressions. This is one good example in adventure portraits to show how happy the kids are when they get what they wanted to. Normally in adventure or action portraits equal importance is given to background or activity along with the subject.

The following Pictures are taken at Fall Festival Event at Plains Conservation Center at Arapahoe CountyColorado during September 2011. Pictures shown here are published with permission from Director, Plains Conservation Center. This is a nice (non-profit organization) place for entire family to visit and learn about conservation of prairie environment. Thanks to Director of the center and volunteers in (who enacted the reflections of 1850 times in prairie lands of Colorado) this festival for giving me a chance to learn and allowing me to use these pictures here.

This is a simple example for outdoor portrait. Subjects are equally matched to environment/settings around them and are showing some activity while being photographed. This is slightly different from still/motion less portraits in photography.  People in this picture are in good mood and are well dressed to situation of olden times in a prairie location. Ample sunlight from right direction allowed in capturing the expressions of artists in photo in a balanced manner.

Howdeee??? This is another good example for artistic expression in portraits. People in this picture are unaware that they are being photographed. The classic outfits gave good balance to people in picture and settings. Old West atmosphere in prairie fields with people & casual mood formed perfect setting to capture this moment. I modified the color balance to give Old West look for this portrait. 

Exposure time: 1/200, F-stop: 22, ISO 200, and lens at 100mm.

This is another example to show portrait features of a person in classic form. I altered the photo color compositions and brought these results to highlight the smile of lady in picture. This picture was taken in a kitchen setting of old farm house in plains conservation center in Colorado. There was a casual conversation between colleagues in kitchen about the event and I noticed from a window the perfect frame to capture the smile of this woman. Used center weighted measure technique and used the natural light available in room along with pop-up flash. 

ISO: 1250, F-stop: 4 and Exposure time: 1/80 and lens at 55mm.

Now these four pictures are nice examples for outdoor portraits. Well balanced setting and outfit to photograph the person in open, calm and bright light is a rare chance we get without any preparation in portrait photography. I took permission from this girl and clicked some pictures while she was helping the people visiting the conservation center. Light passing from her hat and reflecting on her face with lace design added icing to these portraits. The texture and color balance with ample sunlight reflecting on person in outdoor framed good composition in photographs.