Beginner Guide to Portrait Photography | James Clark | Skillshare

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Beginner Guide to Portrait Photography

teacher avatar James Clark, Portrait Photographer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Getting Started


    • 3.

      Shooting Manual


    • 4.



    • 5.

      Choosing Gear


    • 6.

      Location Scouting


    • 7.



    • 8.



    • 9.



    • 10.



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About This Class

Welcome to the Beginner Guide to Portrait Photography! This class goes over the basic principles and topics of portrait photography. You will learn various topics from manual settings, lighting, posing, editing and more. Little prior knowledge is needed, but having access to a DSLR camera is suggested.

Meet Your Teacher

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James Clark

Portrait Photographer

Level: Beginner

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1. Intro: everyone. Welcome to the beginner Guide to Portrait Photography. I'm James Clark, a portrait photographer from a small town outside of Toronto. I run my own freelance photography business, J. D. Clark Media. In this class, you're gonna learn all the basics to portrait photography from lighting, manual settings, location, scouting and more. One of the biggest things to keep in mind when you're taking photos are really doing anything else in life. Is why Why do you do this? I take photos because I love evoking emotion and showing clients how great they look. Nothing is more rewarding than a client just be blown away by a photo of themselves. So I love to know. Why do you guys take photos comment below why you take photos, and with that, let's get this started. 2. Getting Started: first off, I want to congratulate you on learning Thank you for being here on skill ship. There's nothing more beneficial is a photographer just to keep learning whether that's through skill. Share YouTube, reading, whatever. The more you learn, the more you're gonna grow with that. Just keep going out and shoot. You're gonna learn from your mistakes and you're gonna learn from the experience. Each shoot brings its own set of challenges that you can overcome and grow as Qatar. To get the most out of this class, try to get your hands on a DSLR camera. So what? I show you all these tips and tricks, you could do them alongside with me. I'm gonna choose the class project. Now. I want you to take three different portrait in three different locations. You could use the same model but attempt a different style or pose at each of these locations. After taking these, edit them and post them in the class project that you can receive a personal critique from myself and get the opinion of your classmates now on to the next topic shooting man 3. Shooting Manual: welcome to the most important section of this class shooting manual. As a beginner, it's super easy just to switch your camera on auto and let the camera do the work. But in order to get the creative results that you want, you need to be shooting manual. I can't stress this enough. You need to be shooting manual all the time. In order to do this, you're gonna need to understand the exposure triangle, which is your shutter. Speed your eyes so and you're after these three elements, go hand in hand to get the creative results that you want. Your shutter speed is hell faster camera shutter opens and closes, allowing in light if you're working with a very high shutter speed camera shutters opening closed in the blink of an eye. You don't even see it, but this is fantastic if you're working in very bright situations or when you're trying to capture motion like sports cars or anything moving fast and you want to freeze that if your camera shutters stayed open for a longer amount of time, you're allowing in more light, which is good for low light situations or creative results like light trails or blurred your eyes. So is how sensitive your camera sensor is. Toe light. If you're working at a very low, I s. Oh, that's great for shooting and very, very bright situations because your camera sensor won't be as sensitive to the light. Your camera's sensor is very high on, so you're gonna need that for low late situation so that you can get the available light, which won't be very much and still get a properly exposed image. Your camera's aperture are the little blades in your camera that open and close for different depth of focus. If you're working with a very open aperture like 1.41 point eight, you only have a very shallow depth of field that's been focused right now. I'm shooting at 1.4 and you can see it's only me and focus, which is great for a lot of portrait results. If you have a very closed aperture like F 16 or 22 that's great for stuff like landscapes where you want everything in focus. Don't get me wrong. You can use this for portrait. It's a different creative look. Just use it wisely to get the results that you want after this class is done. If you're not shooting manual, I don't know what to say. You just have to shoot manual, please. 4. Focus: in this section, we're gonna talk about focus. Focus is super important in any style of photography. Focus is what draws your viewer in tow, whatever it is that you want them to look at if you don't have something and focus in your image, frankly, the images just useless. You need to have something and focused to draw your viewer to that aspect. Specifically in portrait, it's really important that you focus on the eyes. Eyes are what draw the viewer in and portray the emotion that you want. They're different ways to focus. You can use auto or manual focus. Auto focus. Your camera does the work. You just select the point that you wanted to focus at the lens does the work. But you know what? Auto focus isn't always perfect. Sometimes you select the eyes and the camera just misses it by a little bit. And then again, you got a useless image. Use manual as much as possible. You select what is in focus and really make sure that it's perfect. If you don't have perfect eyes like me clearly wearing losses, you can actually use your LCD screen to make sure it's in focus. look at your LCD screen, zoom in on the eyes and then focus it to make sure that those eyes are talk sharp in order to make sure that your view finder is in focus. Because that's important, you need to see what's in focus. You could actually adjust your die after. Which is that tiny little dialogue aside your viewfinder to make sure that your viewfinders focused. You're gonna do this, focus on something, make sure it's in focus and then spent that die after back and forth until your view finder is perfectly sharp and in focus now on to the next section, everyone's favorite choosing here. 5. Choosing Gear: Now it's time for everyone's favorite section. Choosing gear. Photographers love here. They buying gear. They love talking about here. Anything here related. They're crazy about it, but you can't go out willy nilly buying whatever gear looks nice. You've got to do your research to get the gear. That's gonna be right for you. The first step in this is establishing a budget. You need to know how much you're willing to spend on your gear so that you can look at stuff within your budget to get the results you want. If you don't know what year to choose, here's a helpful trick. Go out and look at photographers whose styles you like. You'd like to replicate and find out what gear they use so that you could research like here and figure out what's within your budget and what's right for you. There's nothing worse than going and buying a lens that just isn't right for the style you want. I've done it before. I bought a lens taking out of the box and only used to two or three times, and then I end up having to sell it for less than I bought it for it sucks. I don't want you guys to go through that. So go out and research your gear. Make sure you're getting the stuff that's right for you. When it comes to lenses, there's two types of lenses. There's prime and there zoom lenses, this year's of prime lenses. 35 millimeters and it's stuck at 35. I can't zoom this so 50 millimeters if I want to get closer to my subject to get a nice, tight image, I've got to use my own zoo, my legs. I've gotta walk closer to my subject to fill the frame. The good thing about prime lenses, though, is the shooted, a lower depth of field of zoom lenses. These, oh, shoot down to 1.41 point eight. Get that nice, shallow depth of field. And also Ryan lenses tend to be a little bit sharper than zoom lenses because they don't have those moving pieces of glass in. But zoom lenses are still great if you're shooting something where you can't move and your subjects moving around back and forth and you need to zoom into them little in out zoom lens zoom. That's why they're called that so that's a great trade off. If this is what you need, remember five year. That's right for you. When it comes to camera bodies, there's crop sensor and there's full friend, the one homis years holding this is a crop center. That means the sensor smaller and a lot less information in the image itself is actually smaller. Crop sensors are great for beginners because they're cheaper, you know. It makes sex less pixels, less money. What I'm shooting on now is a full frame. It gets mawr of that information. It's a bigger image, and it will actually shoot at a higher eso and just get better quality images out of your camera to remember. Do your research on your gear before you buy it so that you get the right here for your style. 6. Location Scouting: Now let's talk about finding locations. Locations are very, very important to portrait. It's they can make your subject stand out, or they can add some extra emotion or story to your image. Sometimes finding a nice, neutral location that isn't gonna distract from your subject is fantastic. You just want to focus in on the subject, and that's what your viewers are going to see. But sometimes, if you want to tell an emotion or story, a location could be a great way to achieve that. If you want something looking really modern, find some nights of buildings in the background. Or you can show a nice spring vibe by having some blossoms coming in or tree branches. When you're finding locations, it's really important that you think three D you need to think about that depth of field you're going for. Having a nice tree branch or blossom in front of your subject can show that nice depth of field and add those extra elements to your image. It's really important toe. Always keep your eyes open when you're going about your daily life going around town, Just keep your eyes open to new locations when you're looking around, certain things will jump out of you and you'll think, Wow, that's a really good location. And keep that in your mind for later. That's when I find the majority of my locations is just going around in daily life. But continuously thinking, hey could not make a good location for a shoot. Another thing to keep in mind is, think through your camera. When you're looking at a location, it might look great to your eye, but when you look at it through a camera, it's not gonna be the same. You need to think about what lens you might use in what depth of field to achieve your look . Not all locations of the same. And they're not all going to give you the right look. If you're just thinking through your eyes, you need to think through your camera on to the next section, which is another really, really important one. Is lighting 7. Lighting: Now it's time for a very, very important section. When it comes to portrait photography lighting, there's natural light, and there's artificial light. Natural light is just the light coming from outside through the windows like it is right now in this. Or there's artificial light that you create through it led or a stroke not relates. Fantastic go on a nice cloudy day. It diffuses the sun's light and creates a nice soft look across your subject's face, but also, if there's no clouds, sons direct and create some really harsh shadows. But you can also use that your creative advantage. If you're in a day where it's direct light, all we have to do is move your subject into the shade, and that will diffuse the light. And just use the ambient light toe. Light up your subject's face. Also, you can combat direct light for something like this, A diffuser. You place this in front of your light source and diffuse the light and create softer light on your subject space with the futures they often come with Reflect. You've got gold inside. They have a white side to bounce the light and also silver. You can use these to bounce different colors of light on your subject toe light up their face. When it comes to artificial light, you can use things like L E D s like this little guy here. Or you can use it on camera strove like this, which is a nice cheap option rather than those big umbrella strobes you see in studios, which could be very, very expensive. One of the biggest things to keep in mind when you're shooting with natural light is the time of day. If you shouldn't get dawn and dusk, that is the best times for lighting. It creates a nice golden soft light across your subject. You're going in the middle of the day that sun overhead will create some bad shadows. But like I told you, there are ways to combat that. So you're going to shoot your next portrait. Think about lighting, goaded different times of day to test out lighting and see what works best for what you're trying to achieve. 8. Posing: Now let's talk about posing. Posing is very important to get across certain styles, emotions or a better composition out of your image. But when it comes to posing, don't pose direct. If you have a model, hold a pose. It's gonna look very stick and unnatural. Have them simply sit or stand and make some small changes in tweets. From there, it's gonna come across a lot more natural than holding a pose. When it comes to complimenting your model, don't do the classic Austin Powers. You are tiger ror, your sexy that's know what they want to hear. It's OK to complement your model, but do so appropriately. One of the best things they can hear is click, click, click. Just keep taking photos from or they hear that more comfortable will be in front of the camera. Something to keep in mind is whether you're opposing man or a woman. Men look better with hard angles, whereas women you want to come across with more soft curbs to the photo. Something else to keep in mind is the good and the bad side of your face. A lot of people prefer one side of their face over another, and it makes the model feel more comfortable. Go up and ask them. Is there a side of their face that you prefer and go from there? It will make them feel more comfortable and you'll get the best out of your images. Something else to try is go in front of your rear or take a video of yourself and try different poses. If you understand what poses look good, you can use that later for your shoots, so go out there and try it yourself. 9. Editing: Now that you're done, you're shoot. Sit down and edit your photos. Yes, you should be editing your photos. There. People are like I don't want out of my photos. I want them to look natural. Wrong at it. Your photos make those small lighting tweaks and color fixes to make your photos look their best. It's important to edit your photos to this style that you want the, but there are things you should avoid. Avoid cliche editing styles like removing the color and only having one color in their It looks cheesy. Avoid cliches. Don't over saturate your images with color and don't over sharpen your images. Try some different styles. Play around with the sliders. See what looks best for your photos. If you don't know what to do, go on skill share. Go on YouTube and watch people at it. Learn. Figure out what you need to be doing to make your photos look their best. It's very, very important toe. Edit your images 10. Conclusion: Well, you've made it to the end and I applaud you for that. I guarantee you're better photographer already. When you're on your next shoot, remember everything I taught you here. Remember your manual settings Focused? Posing, lighting, editing everything. It'll makes your photos better If you like this class check my instagram. Check out my website. Subscribe to my skill share channel firm or classes to come. I wish you the best of luck in the future. Thank you for attending my cloths.