Saturday, 28 January 2012

Project 4 - An active portrait

For the active portrait project I have shot two separate sessions. The first was shot while my subject was making dinner. I encountered a number of problems with this session. The first was that the subject had his back to me while preparing food at the worktops. By leaning across the worktops I managed to get some profile shots though. Secondly the subject tended to suddenly move out of the frame when opening a drawer or going to a different position in the kitchen - it was hard to keep up! I switched my focusing to automatic and let it track the subject at this stage. I've never had a great deal of success with this focusing option and usually end up with mostly blurred shots - just need more practice I guess.

Anyway, I did get some good shots.

Image 1. Consulting Delia.

The light from the window helped to illuminate the subject well here. The bend of the arm, the hands, and gaze direct the viewer to the book and activity taking place.

Image 2. Selecting a pan.

Not so keen on this image. The light from the snow outside the window caused exposure problems. This image is a composite of two exposures adjusted in RAW and combined in Photoshop.

Image 3. Waiting for the ping.

Definite activity taking place in this shot. The finger on the microwave button is a strong gesture and combined with the subjects gaze it creates an element of tension in the image.

Image 4 - Subject aware.

This image is a grab shot. I wanted a long shot to convey more information about the subjects surroundings. On the whole I'm not really satisfied with these images as the subject's face is rarely out of profile. The lesson I learned from photographing a portrait during an activity is to make sure that the subject's face is not going to be obscured by the kind of activity taking place! In the end I got a lot of back shots!

Because of the perceived failure of my previous task I took the lessons learned and applied myself to another session - this time making sure that I would be opposite the subject's face and have more opportunity to catch a range of expressions. This time the subject was seated at our dining table and cutting mount card for framing photographs.

 Image 1. Working it out.

Luckily for me this activity requires a deal of concentration and working out of measurements. Mistakes when cutting mount card are also likely so a range of expressions from puzzlement to exasperation can be seen!  The light from the bay window was quite bright and bounced around the plain walls to even out the shadows.

Image 2. Cutting.

Not so keen on the patch of white mount card and the brown leather chair in this composition.

Image 3. Puzzled.

Image 4. Making the cut.

Conclusion. Still not happy with my portrait skills. Lots more to learn and incorporate into my photographic practice.

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