The word ‘portrait’ does not necessarily refer to a photograph of a person; it can be a sculpture, a painting or even an artistic representation of a person or an animal, wherein importance is placed on the face and its expressions. The idea is to reflect the mood and the personality of the subject.
Portraits can be of various types.
Studio Portraits: As the name suggests, these are generally posed portraits taken in a studio. The lighting can be artificial (studio flash, tungsten etc) or natural (usually using what is referred to as ‘North Light’) or just light from an open window.
Environmental Portraits: These can be either indoors or outdoors; the idea is to tell the viewer something more about the subject. As an example, if you were to see a photo of a man in dirty overalls, with a dab of grease on his face, his hands soiled and spare machine parts all around him, you might recognise him as a motorcyle/car mechanic! You are showing the surroundings (the environment) and linking that with the person in the picture.
Candid Portraits: These are portraits taken (generally) without the subject being aware.
Group Portraits: As the name suggests, portrait of three or more persons together.
Close-up Portraits: Here we take a very close shot, often cutting part of the face/headgear to place greater emphasis on the eyes.
Many budding portrait photographers have a wrong notion that one needs an array of lights to create an impressionistic portrait. Yes, there are times when multiple lights need to be used, but that is not a rule. Depending on the weather and the angle of the sun, the illumination can be hard, medium or soft. It is left to the photographer to decide where to place the subject with reference to the available illumination. Similarly, with studio lighting, striking portraits can be crteated using just one light – sometimes by using a relector to fill-in the shadow areas.
On the next few pages we display the efforts of some of our readers. Many portraits have been taken outdoors in varying lighting conditions while a few are studio shots. Sit back, relax and enjoy… |SP
– By Rohinton Mehta