Foundations: The Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds provides a guide as to the most impactful place within the frame to place key elements. Imagine two horizontal lines that split the image into thirds, crossed by two vertical, equidistant lines that split the image into thirds the other way. Placing an image component along with one of these lines or – even more powerfully – on one of the four intersections where the lines meet – contributes to a strong composition. … To get …

Telling Stories with Composition

Shooting families with young children? Accompanying everyone on a walk allows you to capture relaxed shots like this one, with everyone being themselves and interacting naturally. It also means you are likely to end up getting muddy… Twiggy, mud-splattered clothing is now an expected part of my appearance after an outdoor shoot. I spend a high proportion of my working day lying on my stomach, trying to get the lowest angle possible. In a portrait like this one, a low …

Image Critique 2

Welcome to the second of our image critiques. We’re still finding our feet with these so please give us any feedback (good and bad) as we decide how we want these to look and feel. If you’re one of our members and would like your images critiqued, please use the ‘image critique’ menu option above to submit a file (or more than one of you wish.) Your image will then appear in one of the future episodes! If you’re not …

A Portrait of Two Halves

When Liv and Hannah turned up in opposite-coloured tops I had to adapt from my usual tendency towards portraits with narrow tonal ranges. Getting forced out of your usual habits can result in some of your most creative images, so use it as an opportunity to experiment. When all else fails, you can always exaggerate differences for creative impact. Liv and Hannah came into my studio as part of a project for MasteringPortraitPhotography.com. I prefer harmonious colour palettes when it …

A Crouch To Suit The Composition

I invited Steve into the studio so I could create some portraits for our book, Mastering Portrait Photography. I was specifically looking to capture portraits that illustrated different angles for photographing guys. Steve turned up wearing jeans and a jacket, so I wanted a pose that worked well with that combination. This crouch is quite striking and masculine while still being relaxed and informal, … To get access, you need to first be a registered member and then head over …

Aiming For The Lens

My high risk strategy for getting young James to look directly down my camera lens (and why safer alternatives are a good bet for engaging portraits, too) To get this shot, I challenged James to throw one of his marbles and land it inside my lens hood. He thought this was very funny and set about the task with enthusiasm. This gave me plenty of opportunities to capture the right moment just as a marble went airborne. I happily acknowledge …

Turning Props Into Fresh Portrait Ideas

When Grace’s mum turned up at my studio with her daughter’s name in big fabric letters, an idea started to form… Follow my thought process and find out how I turned it into a reality. Grace is the daughter of one of the couples whose wedding I photographed previously, Amy and Jonny. When they came in, Amy mentioned she had brought some props but nothing quite prepared me for the soft, fabric letters spelling out her name! I’m not normally …

Searching For Giants

Making your shoots fun for your subjects is key to getting memorable portraits. This image was the final shot of the day and the result of a playful interaction. The shoot with George and his parents was over, and we were walking back to the studio. I had plenty of shots already, but then we passed a church with a huge door. An image formed in my mind. Note: to create the sense of height in the doors, I lay …

Kai With His Skateboard

Simple is often best. A patch of daylight on a simple brick wall is all I needed to create this portrait. Oh, and the coolest kid on the block as my subject. Kai is very cool, very photogenic and completely at ease in front of the camera. I’ve photographed him a few times, and knew how relaxed he would be during this shoot. I asked him to bring his skateboard, and loved how it was nearly as big as him! …