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Which settings for a portrait?

This is a discussion on Which settings for a portrait? within the Digital photography forums, part of the Photography & Fine art photography category; Well, not really a portrait, but a picture to be used on Facebook. My wife wants me to take a ...

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    sclewin's Avatar
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    Default Which settings for a portrait?

    Well, not really a portrait, but a picture to be used on Facebook. My wife wants me to take a new picture for her Facebook photo and I want to take a nice shot. Something where she, and everybody else, can see her the way I do.

    When I first got the camera I took a picture of her, but not knowing how to use the camera that well I made a few mistakes and the photo is not that very good.

    What I am asking here is how to take the best picture of someone?
    Your friend,
    Scott

    Posted from a Linux computer using Ubuntu 10.04

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    If it helps, here is the first picture I took and screwed up on.

    Your friend,
    Scott

    Posted from a Linux computer using Ubuntu 10.04

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    kat
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    Hi!

    My suggestion is to

    1. Have the light coming from the front not the back of her. Most times when I shoot, I use the light from my window and not a midday light.

    2. I'd also suggest that the focus be on her face, eyes to be exact.

    3. I'm not sure if your wife wants to have a closer head shot but that may make number 2 easier for you.

    4. If you can, maybe move the vaccuum cleaner

    You will get better, more extensive tips than what i gave you so hold on!! Help is coming!!

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    tirediron is offline Senior Member
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    Kat's advice is spot on. To that which she has mentioned, I'll add: Shoot at her eye level rather that up at her; find a plain background, a medium or darker tone to contrast her hair and skin, crop more tightly on her head and shoulders, and avoid cropping little bits of body parts (in this case the upper portion of her left arm). Bold crops are fine, provided they don't bisect a joint, but little bits tend to give the impression of careless composition.

    Looking forward to the Mk II version!

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    All good advice so far

    I'd like to add that most portraits are done with a larger apertures so that the background blurs out a bit which makes the subject stand out more. Most portraits are also shot with longer lenses or focal lengths around 85-100mm and more. That rule is not etched in stone but it is the norm for most pros that I Know.
    Hope that helps
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    All great advice so far, but there are a couple things I should mention. Even though Facebook pictures are normally of a person's face, my wife wants a shot of her body as well because she haves lost some weight recently and wants to show it off . Also, the only lens I have to chose from is the one that came with the camera which is a 18-70mm lens. I do plan to save up for a telescopic lens for later.
    Your friend,
    Scott

    Posted from a Linux computer using Ubuntu 10.04

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    kat
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    Quote Originally Posted by sclewin View Post
    All great advice so far, but there are a couple things I should mention. Even though Facebook pictures are normally of a person's face, my wife wants a shot of her body as well because she haves lost some weight recently and wants to show it off . Also, the only lens I have to chose from is the one that came with the camera which is a 18-70mm lens. I do plan to save up for a telescopic lens for later.

    I enjoyed this podcast. I really think you might get something out of it. It's about posing.

    http://www.photography.ca/blog/?p=58

    I think your first step is to go over what poses would work well for what image you want. Listen to this podcast, it may help for this. Do some image searches on the internet. Once you and your wife have a couple poses, next thing to think of is where to shoot. Good lighting is a must. Even if it's in the shade but a good light. May I ask what shooting mode you are using right now? Shoot and shoot. Take lots of photos! Look up some jokes and say them to your wife to get a great big smile! Remember to get that focus on her eyes!! They are the window to our soul after all!
    My new blog as of Nov/10
    http://katchickloski.wordpress.com/

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    I'd use the 70 mm end then or close to it...I'd try that first anyway...then play around. If you want to show off the body, then take a few where she is turned 45 degrees. Most women look better in that pose than straight on.
    - Please connect with me further
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    "You have to milk the cow quite a lot, and get plenty of milk to get a little cheese." Henri Cartier-Bresson from The Decisive Moment.

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    It also looks like there is some camera shake so a tripod or some kind of support will help improve the quality of the shot. I also think you should clean up the background a bit or chose a background with less distractions if you can't get a shallow depth of field. I'm not sure how much effort and time you two want to put into this production, but dressing up a little and posing can also improve things (horizontal strips are unually not very flattering).

    Here's a website filled with tips and videos on taking portraits and looking good in pictures:

    http://www.lookgoodinpictures.com/

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    kat
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueX View Post
    It also looks like there is some camera shake so a tripod or some kind of support will help improve the quality of the shot. I also think you should clean up the background a bit or chose a background with less distractions if you can't get a shallow depth of field. I'm not sure how much effort and time you two want to put into this production, but dressing up a little and posing can also improve things (horizontal strips are unually not very flattering).

    Here's a website filled with tips and videos on taking portraits and looking good in pictures:

    http://www.lookgoodinpictures.com/
    Ha ha..I couldn't help but smile at that video!
    My new blog as of Nov/10
    http://katchickloski.wordpress.com/

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