Project 5: Portrait Ideas

Portraits continue to be the majority of the images we take and see, but how are they done. We'll experiment with a couple of techniques, as well as hone our understanding of lighting, focus, depth of field, composition, and more.

3 portraits are due:  At least two different people

  • Isolated Portrait
    • Turn off flash
    • Side window lighting (indirect lighting, such as cloudy day, or north facing window)
    • background blurry (close, wide aperture, telephoto lens), plain un-obtrusive background
    • Reflected light on the opposite side of the face.
    • person 10feet away from background
    • person close to window light
    • vertical or horizontal?
    • person looking at the camera or away?
    • Beware of other artificial lights in the background or lighting your subject from the other side.
    • Avoid including the window in the composition

  • Backlighting with fill flash (hair light)
    • Use the hairlight effect to separate your subject from a dark background
    • Have the lightsource coming down and from behind, not eclipsed by their head
  • Environmental portrait that includes a meaningful background (a context that tells us a story about the person)
    • Everything in focus
    • Wide angle
    • How does our subject relate to the world?

All portraits must be a single human subject with a face.


For editing, I would like you to enhance both portraits by:

  1. Crop
  2. Auto Contrast
  3. Healing Brush
  4. Burning the edges
  5. Reduce or increase saturation (for portraits, often less saturation is better)
  6. Blur tool if needed for background
  7. Remove a distracting object from environmental portrait with the clone stamp tool