Whether you're interested in studio photographs, or "environmental" photos of individuals where they live, in Face to Face
you'll learn the preparation and attention to detail required to make alluring people pictures. From the Introduction The Camera Looks Both Ways
“In picturing the subject, we are also picturing a part of ourselves.”
When it comes to photographing people, that is, no doubt, the most important photo tip I can share with you. “Every picture is a self portrait” is another way of conveying that point. Let me explain. When you are looking through your camera’s viewfinder, viewing and framing a subject, if you realize that the feeling, the emotion, the attitude and the energy that you project will be reflected in your subject’s face--and eyes--you’ll get a higher percentage of pictures that you like. That’s because by your actions, you are subconsciously “directing” the subject to mirror the way you feel. So in looking at the opening photograph in this introduction, I am sure that you know exactly how I was feeling when I took the picture outside a school in Lombok, Indonesia. That’s right! I was having a blast. For all the photographs in this book, I will provide their locations for those of you who may want to know where the pictures were taken. Some of you may find that photographing strangers in strange lands is the ultimate photography experience. For me, getting people to like, or at least accept me, in a matter of seconds in far-away places is my prime goal as a travel photographer. After achieving that goal, taking the pictures is relatively easy--if you follow the tips in this book. Even if you are not a world traveler, however, you’ll find that my tips and techniques for photographing people, for the most part, are the same, no matter where you go. In this book, the one that I’ve dreamed about writing for years, I’ll also share some behind-the-scenes stories. For my Lombok picture, for example, I had just finished doing magic tricks for about an hour in one of the school’s classrooms. I love doing magic tricks when I travel, and it’s also a great technique for “breaking the ice” and getting people to let me into their lives for a few moments. That effort resulted in one of my favorite group shots--a shot that captures the enthusiasm of the school kids. Of course, I’ll also get into the technical aspects of photographing people on the following pages. You’ll learn how to photograph people in low light and in bright light, with a flash and without a flash. You’ll see how reflectors and diffusers can turn a snapshot into a great shot. You’ll understand the difference between an environmental portrait and a portrait--and the difference between taking and making a picture. Camera settings and lenses will also be covered. You’ll find sections on Outdoor Photography and Indoor Photography. In some cases, you’ll be able to use the techniques interchangeably, such as when it comes to posing a group or creating a sense of depth in a photograph. In fact, I will share everything I know about photographing people with you--all while trying to make the learning process fun and enjoyable. Before moving on, I’d like to share three more pictures with you that illustrate my “Camera Looks Both Ways” philosophy.
Check out my pictures of a young woman whom I photographed in Cuba, a Buddhist monk whom I photographed in Cambodia, and a man with face piercing whom I photographed in Cuba. While photographing one subject, I was beaming with joy. For another, I was trying to show an honest feeling of respect. And for another, I was expressing the feeling of, “Man, you look totally awesome.” I don’t have to match the photos with the feeling for you. See! The camera does, indeed, look both ways. Speaking of photo philosophies, if you check out the table of contents, you’ll see that Photo Philosophies is the longest section in this book. That’s because getting a good picture of a person goes way beyond technique. When it comes to photographing a person, you really need to think before you shoot, and that section offers a lot of food for thought. So what about Photoshop? Well, all of the pictures in this book have been enhanced to some degree, even it was only in sharpening, cropping and/or adjusting the brightness, contrast and color of an image. This is not a Photoshop book. However, because Photoshop can help you get a more dramatic, dynamic and artistic images, I’ve included a section at the end of this book that features my favorite Photoshop enhancements when it comes to people pictures.
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For now, this before-and-after pair of images of a horse and rider at sunset, photographed at the Ponderosa Ranch in Oregon, shows how simple cropping and a bit of color, contrast and brightness enhancement can turn a snapshot into a great shot.
Ready to get going with some solid tips and techniques? I am. In fact, I can’t wait for you to read the rest of this book--because I truly enjoy teaching and sharing my photographic experiences. Naturally, I also like “revisiting,” so to speak, some of my favorite subjects. Those of you who have attended my workshops and seminars, or have seen my Web TV shows, also know that I enjoy meeting people. For those of you who are joining me for the first time, I hope you enjoy “meeting” me here. Before you go, however, I’d like to share two of my all-time people pictures with you.
Let's look at a portrait of a young girl whom I photographed in Bhutan and a picture of three girls that I photographed in Costa Rica. What I like about these pictures is the direct eye contact the subjects are making with my camera--and me. Connect with your subjects, and your pictures will connect with those who view them.
Understand your subject, and you’ll gain some insight into the soul of the photographer--your soul. --Rick Sammon