9:12 Portraits

Well, we have somehow already made it to week 9, which I admit I was kind of dreading, as portrait photography is not really my forte. But, here we are, so I took a stab at it. You can join in, even with a Point and Shoot! This week's lesson is HERE

This week's assignment was to choose one or all of the following options for taking your photos:

1. Take a portrait of an individual.
2. Take a group portrait if you have the opportunity.
3. Take a portrait in front of a backdrop or colorful wall or a fun outdoor setting.
4. Take a portrait with black & white film or convert your photo to b&w. (In fact, we'd love to see both versions - color and black & white, if you care to share.)

There are a few tips you should follow when taking photos of people. First, no matter what f/stop you are using, make sure to focus on the subject’s eyes. You don’t want to turn out having their shirt or hair or even worse, the background, in focus while the subject is just a tad blurry. I have accidentally done that before, since you can’t quite tell in the camera that it is not quite all the way focused. Don’t do this! You will be sorry later.

Portraits often look better if you lower the f/stop, which literally puts the focus on the subject and blurs the background so that the subject really pops. You can even do this with a point and shoot. Use the icon called Portrait (a little head). If you are taking photos of tall people, try to get them to sit, or you should stand above them (because a picture of the bottom of your chin is never flattering!) If you are taking photos of children, try to get on their level.

Taking a photo of a group is of course hard. The more people you have, the more likely one of them will not be looking at the camera, not smiling or goodness only knows what else. It’s good to take as many shots as you can. Never take only one group shot. And try to loosen things up a little with a fun shot. My family did a bunch of normal, smile for the camera group shots last Thanksgiving. Then we said to, “act as silly as you can”. This was the result. 

They also suggest using a fun background. In this case, I used a plain background so that the subject would really stand out. That’s me by the way. Mr. L made me put on his hockey equipment and block some shots. Have you ever smelled a pair of hockey gloves? Nasty. 

What did I learn? I still need a lot of practice with this, and some willing subjects (Mr. L is tired of my putting my camera in his face). I am much more comfortable with inanimate objects.
Join in next week for Week 10, Landscapes (also can be done with a P&S -- the little "mountain" button). 

Do you like taking portraits? What is your favorite silly group shot that you have seen? Do you prefer color or black and white? 


  1. I took the same class (or very similar) a few years ago. Maybe I need to take it again with my new camera. I love taking photos second only to running/workouts.

    Black and white or color? Love them both depending on the shot.

    Enjoy the class!

  2. Great shots! I understand the need for more willing subjects, it's hard to find people to shoot sometimes!

  3. I love portraits! I'm definitely not the greatest at them, but I do enjoy them.

  4. I don't like portraits. I prefer candids. I like to catch people in their natural poses and environments. More of their personality comes through that way! And I do NOT like being the subject in someone's portrait. It's sort of awkward... but I know it's important to have group shots of people at events, like weddings, so I oblige.

    And confession: I do NOT like silly "everyone do something funny" pictures!


Thanks for commenting! Any suggestions, tips or praise you have is always welcome!