Portaiture Practice

Finding willing subjects to practice your portraiture skills on can be a challenge. Then I had an idea......

6 months ago

Latest Post Cross-processing Colour Film with Rodinal by Rob Kent

I don't take a lot of portraits. Not because I don't want to, but because I rarely get the opportunity. Generally, I only have two willing subjects: Fynbaar and my wife, both of whose patience is wont to thin after a while. In the absence of willing and/or interesting subjects this is an area of photography I have neglected somewhat.

On a recent trip to Tallinn in Estonia, my wife and I took the opportunity to visit the Kumu Kunstimuuseum and, whilst wandering the galleries, I found myself photographing some of the beautiful collection of sculptures on display. It was only afterwards that it occurred to me that this was a pretty good way of practicing taking portraits without the subject moving or getting bored!

There are some 'rules' to taking portraits. Longer focal lengths (75mm+) are required, apertures at or above f/4, focus point should be the corner of the subjects eye and the face should be evenly lit with a bias to one side, but no shadows. As the examples below demonstrate, I broke most of these rules in one way or another, but I like the results nonetheless. See what you think.

"Eyes Shadowed and Downcast", Sony Alpha7 Mk.II, Nikon Nikkor S.C Auto 50mm f/1.4 @ f/4, 1/60s, ISO 160
"Winged Bronze", Sony Alpha7 Mk.II, Nikon Nikkor S.C Auto 50mm f/1.4 @ f/2, 1/60s, ISO 800
"Flyspecked Peace", Sony Alpha7 Mk.II, Nikon Nikkor S.C Auto 50mm f/1.4 @ f/4, 1/100s, ISO 100

My conclusion to this is that, if you think a little laterally, you can find a way of practicing almost any particular technique or subject type you desire.

Next I need to build up the courage to do some real street portraiture...

Rob Kent

Published 6 months ago

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