Photograph the Face: Lighting, Posing, and Postproduction Techniques for Flawless Portraits

Photograph the Face: Lighting, Posing, and Postproduction Techniques for Flawless Portraits

by Jeff Smith

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Overview

The most essential factor in creating a successful, salable portrait is properly lighting the face. But, every face is different, and, each face type requires a different style of lighting. It is imperative that the photographer realizes this. From the subjects’ complexion and facial size, to their clothing, hair color and setting, there are many aspects to consider when lighting a client. The photographer must also take into consideration what type of product the client wants: senior portrait, bridal portrait, glamour or professional. Each one of these requires something different. Properly and efficiently addressing all of these factors will set you and your business apart from the competition.
In this book, Smith focuses on teaching photographers how to conceptualize and produce portraits that will please the client. He emphasizes that he is not creating his own artistic vision, but that he is crafting what the client wants. That is not to say the results aren’t artful and creative. Both of those things are very important, as Smith shows, but the main goal as a successful professional photographer is to create portraits that the subject wants to buy. Smith advises photographers to be aware of a subject’s self-image when creating the portrait, being sure not to light them in a manner that is unflattering or distorted. Success in creating salable portraits relies as much on understanding people and the way our self image functions as it does understanding the proper techniques of lighting.
First, Smith discusses the differences between face types and what to be aware of when setting up the lighting for each. Proper metering and placement of light source are essential to controlling your highlights, your shadowing and the transition area in between. Establishing a system for modifying your lighting setup for each subject is emphasized. The concept of Camera Sight, or visualizing the finished photo ahead of time to look for potential problem areas, is very important. As Smith admits, this skill comes with experience. Where he once had to take many test shots to pick out these issues, he is now able to able to see them before he shoots a single frame. This is a skill that develops over time with training and practice.
The author then explains the differences between shooting in a studio and shooting on location, both indoors and outdoors. Different equipment is required for each scenario, but the equipment used for shooting outdoors can even differ depending on the time of day. While the most ideal natural light occurs just after sunrise or just before sunset, most customers do not want to have their portraits taken at 5am or late in the day. So, the photographer needs to be prepared to shoot in the harsh midday sun. In addition to lighting the face, the photographer must find usable light to illuminate the background properly. Smith details the lighting system he uses for outdoor portraiture and presents it in the context of his shooting experiences.
While studio shoots provide greater levels of comfort and consistency compared to a location shoot, there are still many things required to get that perfect shot. Properly applying fill, accent light and shadowing are just as important in the studio as they are on location. Understanding the concepts of traditional lighting allows the photographer to consistently create studio portraits that will please any customer.

The most important part of the face to light properly is the eyes. Smith explains in detail what factors a successful photographer must consider to get the final portrait every client wants. Whether it is a difference in the size of the client’s eyes or ears, asymmetrical lips, or a crooked nose, there are ways to light these to correct the differences. Using artistry and creative vision to adapt from the comfort of studio shoots to the complicated and diverse demands of location shoots, Smith provides the reader with the tools to capture what the client wants every time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781608956883
Publisher: Amherst Media, Incorporated
Publication date: 06/10/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 128
File size: 25 MB
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About the Author

Jeff Smith is an award-winning portrait photographer and the author of Corrective Lighting, Posing, and Retouching for Digital Portrait Photographers; Outdoor and Location Portrait Photography, Step-by-Step Posing for Portrait Photography and many more. He lives in Fresno, California.

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Photograph the Face 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
sobasphotos More than 1 year ago
This is a very well written and detailed guide to improve all aspects of the portraits you take. It covers lighting for a variety of situations, posing, and retouching along with great little hints for any type of professional photography.  This is a  very good read and well worth the money/