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Professional and Advanced Portraiture
NEW ANNOUNCEMENT (Mission Statement) PLEASE READ
Apr 5, 2018 19:19:51   #
E.L.. Shapiro Loc: Ottawa, Ontario Canada
 
Hi Gang!

Firstly, I would like to thank the members, thus far, who are participating in this comparatively new ADVANCED portraiture section.

In my original concept for this section and what I hoped to express in the description is that I want to create a workshop environment where we can delve into the finer points of portrait photography- the nuances and finite techniques that enable advancement of our art by discussing and working into the methodologies that are seldom discussed, taught and practiced outside of specialized master classes.

This does not mean that the all the folks who post here need to be advanced or master portrait photographers, rather it will also attract those who are very interested or even passionate about learning fine portraiture, polishing the present level of their work, and improving their portrait quality going forward.

A good starting point is are the principles and refinement of classic contemporary portraiture. This means portrait photography that is planned and controlled where the photographer and the subjects participate in the making of art. Style-wise, this can be formal or casual, produced in a studio or setup environment or at any manner of indoor or out-of-doors locations and in many genres. The work can be performed with a wide variety of lighting equipment from complex studio systems to simple one-light setups and of course, with many forms of natural light. Usually, the simpler the better!

When conversations and critiques about portraiture come up in online forums, many opinions are expressed as to which is the most important aspect of a successful portrait. Theses opinions are oftentimes unilateral, some say lighting, others stress posing and some feel that expressions is the key. Fact is, all of theses facets overlap into each other, are very much integrated and must be equally addressed and combined along with composition, finishing and enhancement and presentation.

Fine portrait lighting and posing can not completely determine by diagrammatic and geometric formula. Theses angles, heights, positions are good starting points but the photographer must learn to analyze their subjects facial features, body styles and body language and VISUALLY make fine adjustments accordingly. We should not try to make a portrait “mechanically” but rather seamlessly combine our learned methodologies. Consequently, when critiquing or analyzing a portrait, we need to carefully consider all the components. The might be adequate catch-lights in the eyes but the the lighting placement and resulting effect may still be incomparable with the subject's facial structure. One or two good indications do not necessarily make for a better portrait.

The lighting forms that we make reference to are good in the sense that that give us a descriptive language, terminology and nomenclature with which to communicate. Lighting forms like butterfly, modified butterfly/loop, Rembrandt split, broad and short are all good starting points and help us recognize and define a number of classical lighting effects. All of theses, however, do not always work well with every type of facial structure and there are many variations and in-between forms that are VISUALLY determined.

I am writing this, mainly, to explain how I am going to analyze, critique, instruct and make suggestions in any submissions in this section and how I would like to guide the section to higher levels. This, of course, does not limit anyone form expressing their own opinions, thoughts, criticisms, concepts, arguments or questions and of course IMAGES! I have no intention of making this section into a unilateral and single-handed platform on my part so I hope more interested people will join in. The more ideas and talking points, the better. I am also inviting more professional portrait photographs to join in here as well and to assist with the teaching and critiquing aspects.

I remain hopeful that his will become a productive and helpful resource for all interested photographers.

Sincerely, Ed

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Apr 5, 2018 21:06:57   #
BB4A
 
👍

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Apr 6, 2018 05:38:18   #
rlaugh Loc: Michigan & Florida
 
Looking forward to new posts

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Apr 6, 2018 07:20:10   #
roxiemarty Loc: Florida
 
Thank you Ed for your well thought out explanation. I look forward to this section and all that can be learned from the other talented photographers in our forum.

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Apr 6, 2018 13:27:06   #
Designdweeb Loc: Metro NYC & East Stroudsburg, PA
 
This would be great, my portrait work is always a series of on-the-spot compromises doing fast-paced photojournalism, but the priority of the choices I make need to be informed by the best practices.

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Apr 6, 2018 16:38:31   #
bkyser Loc: Fly over country in Indiana
 
Thanks Ed.

I love this section, and hope that it flourishes. As you know the wedding section is very slow on the uptake, but at least we both have a vision of keeping it educational, and keeping the sniping out of it.

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Apr 7, 2018 15:55:40   #
E.L.. Shapiro Loc: Ottawa, Ontario Canada
 
bkyser wrote:
Thanks Ed.

I love this section, and hope that it flourishes. As you know the wedding section is very slow on the uptake, but at least we both have a vision of keeping it educational, and keeping the sniping out of it.


For sure...quality is more important than quantity! Sometimes forums are like nightclubs-the entertainment is good, the food and booze are good but you still need a good bouncer!

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Apr 9, 2018 09:10:38   #
bkyser Loc: Fly over country in Indiana
 
E.L.. Shapiro wrote:
For sure...quality is more important than quantity! Sometimes forums are like nightclubs-the entertainment is good, the food and booze are good but you still need a good bouncer!


Perfect analogy

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Aug 30, 2018 07:05:00   #
BJW
 
I’m delighted to have just stumbled upon this section. And from the Mission statement, it sounds very wothwhile, especially if the snipers and A-holes stay out. Thanks, Ed. I’ve been looking for a forum to help me catch up with my portraiture skills.
Ben

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