Capturing a great “character portrait” takes skill, timing and connection. It also needs the right mix of smart composition, meaningful props and a knack for storytelling. In this episode, Gina and Valerie discuss the three “recipes” that will help you take an awesome character portrait every time. In Gina’s unique style, she explains how to determine what KIND of portrait you can achieve, how to embellish or simplify the image, and how to choose an environment that will really make your character portrait shine.
Also remember to join the free community on Facebook. Just search for “So you want to be a photographer podcast community”.
This week’s #ginachallenge is #character
Ken Burgin who braved spotlight
Listener Question: Tom Rourke
“Gina, your podcasts are what takes me to work every morning. Great show.
I have a tripped planned for Ireland next year. I plan to be there 2 weeks. What do I bring? I have Canon 6D, a Canon 50MM, Canon 85MM and a Canon 24-135. bringing a small tripod and my flash. I also have a Tamron 28-300 but my shots are always too soft. I know I need to travel light. Will I use a 70-200 at all? I am think for lense all I will really need is my 24-105. What would you bring?”
Photo Critique: Ron Navarrete
“I’m about to embark on a NEW website dedicated to my music photography. This is really important for me considering the evolution of my photography and where it’s going is truly exciting. Therefore, I’m thinking of using this image as a new logo for that new website. Please CC the photo EVERYONE!”
Listen to the feedback in this episode.
Character building: How to take great character portraits
Definition of Character
Unusual, interesting, or eccentric, stand out from the crowd, memorable.
It’s the opposite of model: which is symmetrical, beautiful, pretty, and sometimes bland.
Examples of well known characters
Examples of made up characters
Brad Pitt in Fight Club
Brando The Godfather
Darth Vader Star Wars
The Kid in Home Alone
Sandy in Grease
What are some of the stand out features of a character portrait
Interesting physical characteristics
Some other features
- very old
- Donald Trump’s hair
- striking eyes (famous Nat Geo shot)
- muscular (superheroes)
- powerful e.g. Gordon Gecko
- bombshell e.g. Marilyn Monroe or Jessica Rabbit
- child e.g. Shirley Temple
- Barbra Streisand’s nose
Examples of great character shots
Character portraits are like different meals. So here are the recipes.
The Nutella portrait
It tastes so good, nothing else is needed.
Subject has interesting physical characteristics
- best shot with a simple background
- simple lighting
- feature becomes the hero
- vibe can be strong or light depending on the portrait
Adding props helps to tell a story and set the mood of the portrait
Image is still clean and it’s all about the character.
The whopper burger with the lot.
Characters + Props + Location + Attitude + Vibe
Don’t forget the little details like hands, feet, chin, hair