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Photo Workshop: Erin Manning on Portrait Photography
Portrait and Candid Photography Photo Workshop: Develop Your Digital Photography Talent introduces the technology and the basics for developing an artistic eye, arming readers with real-life techniques that will help them connect with and photograph people.

About the author: Erin Manning is a professional photographer, teacher, and television personality living in Los Angeles, California. Television viewers know Erin best as host of The Whole Picture, HGTV-HD’s and DIY Network’s Telly Award winning digital photography show. She helps people understand photography and technology by translating technical mumbo-jumbo into everyday words, and facilitating their learning with a clear, friendly teaching style. Erin first fell in love with photography at age seven when she discovered a book entitled The Family of Man. That early encounter with images of people from all over the world shaped the direction she was to take with her photography--capturing moments with and between people.

Want to know more about Erin? Learn out more about her in this video, find out what essential supplies (rice paper? compass?) she always carries with her in her handbag, and check out the list of fantastic photographic gear--straight from Erin's camera bag.

Erin Manning's Top 10 Dos and Don'ts for Great Portraits
Want a bonus (and money-saving) tip? Watch this video (.wmv).

1. DON'T: Don't place people or things right in the middle of the frame. Positioning your subject right in the middle of an image is great for the perfunctory passport and driver's license photo, but unless other interesting compositional elements are present, it's not an exciting image.

DO: Move your subject over to the side of the frame. Think of the scene in your viewfinder or on your LCD display as a tic-tac-toe board and mentally divide the image into thirds. Place something of interest at one or more of the tic-tac-toe intersections.

Watch the video to learn more (.wmv)

2. DON'T: Don't force a child to strike a pose or force a smile.

DO: Keep it real. A compelling photograph captures an authentic moment, a look, or a gesture that elicits a feeling from the viewer. Motivate kids to move around and photograph them from a variety of angles. Choose a location for your shoot, then encourage play, action, and activity. Be silly and have fun.

Watch the video to learn more (.wmv)

3. DON'T: Don’t let your subjects wear clothing with busy patterns or logos that distract.

DO: Help your subjects prepare for the shoot by wearing solid colors that complement their skin tone and hair, or enhance their eye color.

Watch the video to learn more (.wmv)

4. DON'T: Don't let your subjects look like red-eyed monsters in your photographs. Red-eye occurs in low-light scenes when your subject's pupils are dilated and the angle of the flash angle reflects the red from the back of your subject's retina into the camera lens.

DO: Minimize red-eyes in your images by using the red-eye flash reduction feature with the on-camera flash.

Watch the video to learn more (.wmv)

5. DON'T: Don’t take all of your images from the same distance and angle. Viewing these images together becomes dull and boring.

DO: Mix it up and shift your point of view. Change your angle and distance from your subject when taking the photo. With children, get down on their level and don’t be afraid to zoom in close to capture every detail.

Watch the video to learn more (.wmv)

6. DON'T: Don't forget to use your flash during the day.

DO: Use a flash during the day to fill in dark shadows across faces created by harsh overhead sun. Use can also use the flash to illuminate your subject's face when shooting them in front of a bright background.

Watch the video to learn more (.wmv)

7. DON'T: Don’t overlook the quality of the light.

DO: Learn to read where the light is coming from by looking at shadows. Notice if the shadows are hard-edged or soft-edged. A general rule for beautiful images is to plan your photo shoot for early morning or late afternoon light because softer shadows equate to less contrast in your scene and more flattering light for your subject. If you must shoot images at high noon, move your subject under the shade of a tree or building.

Watch the video to learn more (.wmv)

8. DON’T: Don’t stand close to your subject and use the wide-angle setting on your zoom lens.

DO: Step back and zoom in with your lens to get closer to your subject. This perspective is more flattering because it does not distort your subject's face.

Watch the video to learn more (.wmv)

9. DON’T: Don't shoot your subject in front of a busy background.

DO: Pay attention to the background when composing your photograph. Plants coming out of ears, telephone poles, or other distractions can take the focus away from your subject. If it's not possible to move your subject in front of a simple background, place them in front of a simple backdrop and zoom in close.

Watch the video to learn more (.wmv)

10. DON'T: Don't miss capturing those magical moments in a photograph because you ran out of battery charge or ran out of room on your memory card.

DO: Carry an extra, charged battery with you on every photo adventure, and make sure you have a high-capacity memory card (1 GB or more) with enough room to capture your images.

Watch the video to learn more (.wmv)