Portrait Shots

Purpose: Human beings are the most common photographic subject. Even if you do not pursue photojournalism, you will likely be asked at some point be asked at some time to make a picture of someone for publication. This assignment will show you how to make portraits that are far better than driver’s license mug shots.

Read Chapter 5 in the Kobre Text first.

A: First make an environmental portrait. In such a photo, the background contributes important information to our understanding of this person's personality. The background should be one over which the person has some control. A clerk in a mini mart for example does not have such control, and that environment tells us little about that person anyway. Be careful with lighting. Fluorescent lights such as those used in classrooms and stores are usually flat and uninteresting. this is a POSED picture, and the placement of the person in the scene should be done carefully.

B: Second, make a close-up portrait using window light. Be sure to avoid featuring the window in the portrait, and ensure that there is a plain background and the light is coming from the sky not direct beams of light. Your subject should be looking at the camera. 

C: Make a 3/4 or full length shot of a person with an object. The object should reveal to us the person's vocation or avocation. Use an absolutely plain background such as a solid color wall (no brick walls). This is a studio shot and artificial light may be used (be sure the light source is higher than the subjects eye level). In all 3 parts it is appropriate for the subject to look into your camera. A portrait is controlled, not a candid photo. Discuss your ideas with your subject and encourage his/her ideas. REMEMBER: One of the objectives of this course is to help you gain confidence in dealing with strangers. The use of friends and relatives as subjects defeats this purpose and points will be subtracted if you do so.
SUBMIT: Upload one of each category (total 3) 8x10 72 ppi images from each category and one or more 8x10 72 ppi contact sheet of 24-36 images for each pose. Also include cut line in and caption information in the "comments" section of Blackboard.

Grading Criteria: Each section is worth 33 points. As usual, you will be graded on content and technique. Important content areas include: How well did you capture this persons personality? Does this person look interesting and alive or dead and boring? Did you follow directions on each section? Focus is very important, make sure you focus on the specular highlights in your subjects eyes. There will be no late submissions for this assignment, make it good and well thought out.

My submission:

"Actor and journalist Bernard Oliver prepares for the Gridiron play produced by members of the University of Arkansas' journalism department."

"Professor Katherine Shurlds and Zesna Garcia get ready to relax and enjoy the party after the final night of the Gridiron play, produced by members of the University of Arkansas' journalism department."

"Jed Clampit takes a moment to ham it up for the camera before launching into his first song at the Z330 Club in downtown Fayetteville. "

I am currently stuck on my linux mini laptop and do not have photoshop available to create the proof sheet, but will do so promptly when I get back from NYC~!


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