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The Best of Portrait Photography: Techniques and Images from the ProsSECOND EDITION
Copyright © 2008 by Bill Hurter. All rights reserved.
Front cover photograph by Fuzzy Duenkel. Back cover photograph by Bruce Dorn.
Published by: Amherst Media, Inc. P.O. Box 586 Buffalo, N.Y. 14226 Fax: 716-874-4508 www.AmherstMedia.com
Publisher: Craig Alesse Senior Editor/Production Manager: Michelle Perkins Assistant Editor: Barbara A. Lynch-Johnt Editorial Assistance from: John S. Loder
ISBN-13: 978-1-58428-223-5 Library of Congress Control Number: 2007926869 Printed in Korea. 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, me- chanical, photocopied, recorded or otherwise, without prior written consent from the publisher.
Notice of Disclaimer: The information contained in this book is based on the author’s experience and opinions. The author and publisher will not be held liable for the use or misuse of the information in this book.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bill Hurter started out in photography in 1972 in Washington, DC, where he was a news photographer. He even covered the political scene—including the Watergate hearings. After graduating with a BA in literature from American University in 1972, he completed training at the Brooks Institute of Photography in 1975. Going on to work at Petersen’s PhotoGraphic magazine, he held practically every job except art director. He has been the owner of his own creative agency, shot stock, and worked assignments (including a year or so with the L.A. Dodgers). He has been directly involved in photography for the last thirty years and has seen the revolution in technology. In 1988, Bill was awarded an honorary Masters of Science degree from the Brooks Institute. He has written more than a dozen instructional books for professional photographers and is currently the editor of Rangefinder magazine.
PREFACE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
1. WHAT IS A GREAT PORTRAIT? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Qualities of a Great Portrait . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 More Than a Likeness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Beyond the Obvious . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Artistic Quality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Enlivening . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Respect for Classic Style . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Portraits as Memories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Storytelling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Idealization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13
Technical Qualities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Expression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Attention to Detail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Photographic Technique . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15
Your Imagination is the Only Limit . . . . . . . . . . .15
2. POSING ELEMENTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Evaluating the Subject’s Face . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Portrait Lengths . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Head-and-Shoulders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Three-Quarter Length . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Full Length . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18
Observing the Subject . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Facial Views . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 The Seven-Eighths View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 The Three-Quarters View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 The Profile View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20
The Head and Face . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 Tilting the Head . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20
Masculine and Feminine Poses . . . . . . . . . . .20 Engaging the Eyes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21
Direction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 Iris Position . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 Pupil Size . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22
The Mouth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 Laugh Lines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24 Chin Height . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24
Hair Style and Makeup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 Arms and Shoulders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 Head-and-Shoulders Axis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26
TABLE OF CONTENTS 3
A Sloping Line . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 A Triangular Base . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28
The Hands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28 Hands in Group Portraits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 Hands in Standing Poses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32
Feet and Legs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 Standing Poses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 Seated Poses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33
Avoiding Distortion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 Camera Height . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33
Controlling Perspective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35 Focal Length . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35
3. COMPOSITIONAL ELEMENTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37 The Rule of Thirds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37 Direction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39 Line . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39 Real Lines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39 Implied Lines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39 Diagonal Lines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40
Shape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40 Tension and Balance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42 Pleasing Compositional Forms . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 Subject Tone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46
4. EXPRESSION AND RETOUCHING . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50 Eliciting Expressions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51 Smile Formula . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51 Retouching . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .52 Retouching Then . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53 Retouching Now . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .54
5. LIGHTING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56 The Lights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56 Key and Fill Lights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56 Hair Light . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .58 Background Light . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .58 Kicker Lights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .58
Lighting Types . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .58 Broad Lighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .58 Short Lighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59
Basic Lighting Setups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59 Paramount Lighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59
4 THE BEST OF PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY
PH OTOGRAPH
BY GENE
M ARTIN.
PH OTOGRAPH
BY JOE
BU ISSINK.
Loop Lighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61 Above the Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62 Rembrandt Lighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .63
Lighting with Scrims . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65 Split Lighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .66 Profile Lighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .66
Fashion Lighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .70 Light Modifiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .71 Spotlights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .72 Parabolic Reflectors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .73 Barn Doors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .73 Umbrellas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .73
Fill Light Problems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .73 Softboxes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .75 Reflectors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .75 Gobos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .75
Size of the Light . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .75 Scrims . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .76
Lighting Ratios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .76 Determining Lighting Ratios . . . . . . . . . . . . .77
Lighting Ratios and Their Unique Personalities . . . . . . . . . . . . .78
Photographers’ Favorite Lighting Setups . . . . . . .79 Stacy Bratton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .79 Tim Kelly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .79 Fuzzy Duenkel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .80
6. TYPES OF PORTRAITURE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .82 Children’s Portraits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .82 Use an Assistant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .82 Lighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .84 Tripod and Cable Release . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .86 Clothing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .88 Comfort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .88
Family Portraits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .88 Clothing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .88 Posing . . . . . .…