Image credit: Photograph by Mario Zanaria and used with permission
Having a flattering portrait as your drivers license photo is difficult to achieve, but so is having a portrait that stands out as being bizarre. Reddit user adambard successfully accomplished the latter. He wanted a novelty drivers license photo, so he decided to shave half his hair and the opposite half of his beard. Just in case you’d like to follow in his footsteps, you can view a step-by-step documentation of his process here.
Here’s a quick and simple tip for better portraits by Reddit user rmx_:
Everyone has a lazy eye. By that, I mean one eye is always smaller and/or more closed than the other eye. In some people, it is very easy to spot; in others, nearly impossible. The “beautiful people” have more symmetrical faces, but still, one eye will open more than the other. (Denzel Washington has one of the most I have seen [...])
[...] here is the tip: get the smaller/lazier eye slightly closer to the camera. Oh, and don’t tell the person what you’re looking at their eyes for! You’ll make them self conscious. Simply ask them to look at your finger and move their head to follow it, and then guide them left or right as necessary. Chances are, the movement needed will not be so much that you have to adjust your lights.
You can read more about how facial symmetry relates to beauty in this Wikipedia article.
MIOPS is a new smartphone-controlled camera trigger that combines all of the features photographers want in a high-speed camera trigger into one convenient device.
Photographer James Loveday has a portrait project documenting the people who use Craigslist. Over a period of several months, he placed ads on Craigslist offering free portraits to anyone who stopped by his Brooklyn studio.
Each time a person or people would come, I’d have everything set up and over the course of an hour or so I’d get their portrait taken. Some people would show up ready, knowing what to wear and what they wanted, others had a vague idea of getting famous and wanted to have pictures of themselves for their future careers as actors and models and some people were just intrigued, or bored.
Everyone who participated also filled out a questionnaire about themselves and their reasons for participating. The answers are shown alongside each of the portraits.
The truth is no portrait of substance has people smiling. Look at the history of painting, Rembrandt, Titian, Goya, Velasquez, Sargent, Vermeer, DaVinci, etc., the subjects gaze to the viewer is neutral at best, neither inviting nor forbidding. It is there for the viewer to see and feel.
Smiling is like much of American popular culture, superficial and misleading. It is part of our vernacular, but it should be expunged in photographs.
You can find some famous portrait paintings made throughout history here. Virtually all of them support this argument.
If you’ve never done studio portraits before, check out this uber-helpful video that quickly runs through five basic lighting techniques commonly used by photographers everywhere.
You’ve probably heard before that focal lengths between 85mm and 135mm produce the best head shots because they provide a desirable perspective in head shots, but how much of a different does the focal length actually make? Photographer Stephen Eastwood decided to find out, shooting 10 portraits of the same subject with focal lengths ranging from 19mm to 350mm.
Image credits: Photographs by Stephen Eastwood