Ep 41: Character building: How to take great character portraits

Photo podcast episode 41 artwork. older man smoking in winter.

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

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Show notes

Parents Troll Daughter And Boyfriend By Recreating Their Facebook Selfies

Shout out:
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!”

Ron Navarrete photo critique close up of a microphone with a chrome finish and bokeh in the background

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
Andy Warhol
Elvis Presley
Marilyn Monroe
Steve Jobs
Prince Charles
Oprah Winfrey
Frank Sinatra
Walt Disney
Bill Gates
Arnie Schwarzennegar

Examples of made up characters

Brad Pitt in Fight Club
Brando The Godfather
Darth Vader Star Wars
Indiana Jones
James Bond
Dirty Harry
The Kid in Home Alone
Sandy in Grease
Mad Max
Freddy Krueger
Forrest Gump
Gordon Gecko
Mr Bean

What are some of the stand out features of a character portrait
Interesting physical characteristics

famous afgan girl
Afghan Girl Date: 1985. Photographer: Steve McCurry, National Geographic.
Brando 1954. Photographer: Publicity Photo for “The Wild One”
Brando 1954. Photographer: Publicity Photo for “The Wild One”
dog
Guy photographs his dog

Some other features

  • very old
  • Donald Trump’s hair
  • striking eyes (famous Nat Geo shot)
  • muscular (superheroes)
  • nerds
  • preppy
  • 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

red head
Maja Topčagić photographs redheads

 

https://500px.com/majatopcagic

Lee Jeffries

Aaron Draper

Character portraits are like different meals. So here are the recipes.

The Nutella portrait

It tastes so good, nothing else is needed.

Actor Gary Sweet in character as a small time gangster Rembrandt lighting
Actor Gary Sweet in character as a small time gangster

 

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

 

The bolognaise

 

Frank Woodley
Frank Woodley
Rohan Anderson
Rohan Anderson

 

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

The cast of Fat Tony and Co
The cast of Fat Tony and Co

 

 

The Granita Man of Modica
The Granita Man of Modica

Post-production

Actor Lachy Hulme in the television series Beaconsfield
Actor Lachy Hulme in the television series Beaconsfield before post-production work
Actor Lachy Hulme in the television series Beaconsfield after post-production work
Actor Lachy Hulme in the television series Beaconsfield after post-production work

Don’t forget the little details like hands, feet, chin, hair

monks in red robes praying.

#ginachallenge #character

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