Using Location To Avoid Portrait Fatigue

I share my method for avoiding portrait fatigue then discuss light direction, visual balance/tension and why the unplanned portraits are often my favourites. One of the questions I often get asked is, “When photographing all day, every day, how do you avoid repeating images?” For me, one way of avoiding portrait fatigue is to head out to new locations with my clients. We meet up and go for a walk somewhere that I believe will provide good opportunities for aesthetically …

Video: Fun, beautiful and characterful portraits of sibling groups

We’ve created this video in response to a question on one of our forum threads: how do you capture life, laughter and interesting images when working with children? The MPP team sent me on a shoot with 10-year-old George and his 6-year-old twin brothers, Alfie and Freddie, with a brief to capture six very different images: one of each of the boys alone, one of the twins, and at least two of all three siblings together. JOIN NOW to view …

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! JOIN NOW to …

Foundations: Background Patterns and Textures

Textured backgrounds, or those with repeating elements, can often form ideal patterns to add low-key interest behind a subject. For example, the horizontal lines of a brick wall or the vertical lines of wooden planks on a shed could both make great backgrounds. Horizontal lines tend to suit a landscape format image best while vertical lines are more powerful in a portrait image, as the background lines echo the angle of the longest edge of the image. However, patterns or …

Foundations: Lead-In Lines

Lead-in lines are strong compositional elements that guide the viewer’s eye around the image, and draw the viewer’s focus towards the subject. For example, in a shot of a subject walking along a winding path, inclusion of the path in the foreground will create a lead-in line. Equally, two rows of converging trees either side of your subject create converging lead-in lines that draw the viewer’s eye to their vanishing point behind the subject. By giving the eye a clear …

Foundations: The Golden Ratio

Like the Rule of Thirds, the Golden Ratio is a guideline for positioning elements of the image within naturally powerful areas of the frame. It is an ancient design principle which states that the ratio of 1:1.618 is the most visually pleasing. This particular ratio has been found to appear repeatedly in nature (such as in the shape of a snail’s shell) and is one that humans are drawn to. It can be used to divide the image frame into …

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.   For close-up …

Foundations: Shoot With The End In Mind

The end intention of your image will – to some extent – determine the best composition to use. For example, if the subject wants to use the photograph as their image on a social media profile, you may need to crop the shot into a square. In addition, taking a full length shot with plenty of space around the subject would result in detail too tiny to make out once the image is a small, online box. Instead, a close …

Flattering Feminine Portraits

Here’s how to combine one woman, one feminine pose and one close crop for a quick and easy, high-impact portrait – with absolutely no lighting kit at all. Emphasising Femininity Posing Cropping Rule of Thirds Sometimes the best portraits are the simplest. There’s no lighting kit here: just natural light and beautiful shadows that emphasise Liv’s great cheekbones. A tight crop, a gentle smile and a natural-looking pose combine to make this a portrait you can do with anyone, anywhere. …

Family In A Frame Within A Frame

Frames within the edges of your image are a powerful way to strengthen your composition. Go one step further by stacking multiple frames-within-a-frame, as in this portrait of Mimi and Milos. Concepts Covered In This Article Framing Pregnancy Shots Composition Mimi and Milos came to the studio having researched us more thoroughly than any client we’ve ever had. They wanted a series of shoots documenting the birth of their first baby, Dominik and Mimi brought numerous outfits with her, each …