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Picture Perfect Practice: A Self-Training Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Taking World-Class Photographs from New Riders meets the needs of photographers who are constantly frustrated or confused about how to make a photo that has "snap." The challenges of making a good portrait can be daunting. There are many factors to be taken into consideration such as subject, location, lighting and posing.
This book, using the author's considerable experience shooting in many different kinds of venues, breaks down the elements that go into making an ordinary portrait into a "keeper." Above all, the author emphasizes the need to practice the craft so that when you come up against a challenge, you'll know how to solve it. From symmetry to framing and from color to texture, you'll learn how to maximize the shooting session as well as make the best use of the location itself. Too often photographers do not take into consideration obvious factors such as background, posing and basic execution. You'll come away from this book with a sense of how to size up a shooting situation and know how to get the most out of it.
The book breaks down the three key elements that go into making a good image - location, pose, and execution. Once you've come to terms with how to deal with these elements, you'll build the confidence you need to enter any photo arena and come away with a winning shot.
Table of Contents
Foreword Introduction How to Read This Book The Location, Posing, and Execution Charts
Part 1: Locations
Geometry for Framing Geometry in the Environment Geometry for Balance Putting It All Together
Balancing with People Balancing with Objects Five Key Questions for Choosing a Balance Point Balancing with Space
Working with Horizontal Lines Working with Vertical Lines
Combining Vertical Symmetry with People Combining Horizontal Symmetry with People Seeing Symmetry Everywhere
Keep Contrasting Colors to a Minimum Find an Area Where the Colors Are Part of the Same Family The Three-Color Limit
Depth and the Environment Depth with Context Depth for Mood Depth with Movement
The Bright Side of Shadows Using Dark Rooms Outside to Create Striking Portraits with Shadows 1: Shooting from the Shadow Side 2: Shooting in the Middle Between the Bright and Shadow Sides 3: Shooting from the Bright Side Navigate by the Shadows on the Ground Casting Shadows from Objects to Create Graphical Interest on a Portrait Using an Off-Camera Flash or Video Light to Force Shadows to Appear Where Desired
Vital Components of Silhouettes A Very Bright Background to Create Contrast Subjects or Objects Should Have Little or No Light Falling on Them No On-Camera Flash Clear and Recognizable Shapes Correct Exposure Creating the Opportunity for Silhouettes Partial Silhouettes Posing Silhouettes Creating Contrasting Silhouettes
Reflections Using a Single Mirror Two Sides of the Same Person Capturing Expressions and Relationships through a Mirror Telling Multiple Stories through a Single Mirror Creating Balance with a Single Mirror Reflections Using Two Mirrors Using Beveled Mirrors Reflections from Water Finding Reflections in Unlikely Places
Patterns and Repetitions
Incorporating Patterns into Photography Breaking a Pattern to Isolate a Subject Breaking a Pattern to Isolate a Subject Breaking a Pattern to Isolate a Subject Breaking a Pattern to Isolate a Subject Combining Patterns with Geometry Using a Flash to Bring Out the Pattern Combining Patterns with Geometry and Symmetry Working with Repetitions Positioning Subjects Within or Near the Repetition Positioning Subjects to Become Part of the Repetition
Creating Action Inside a Frame Creating Frames Natural Frames Double Frames Abstract Frames Framing with People Framing with Meaning
Paintings and Artwork
Choosing the Right Artwork Removing Context Composition with Paintings and Artwork Technical and Lighting Tips
Old and New Big and Small Bright and Dark Contrasting Expressions Age Contrast Contrasting Colors Breaking the Status Quo
The Benefits of Lens Flare Everything in Moderation Moving Halos Away from the Body Block and Crop Setting Priorities Advanced Lens Flare Techniques
Walls, Translucent Surfaces, and Textures
Walls and Shade Proximity to the Sun Reflecting a Patch of Sunlight Reflecting Window Light in Front of Walls Using an External Flash on Walls Using Walls as Reflectors Think Like a Photographer Using Natural Walls Superimposing Designs on Walls Wall Textures Making Texture Work for You Using Contrasting Textures Translucent Materials
Part 2: Poses
Five Key Posing Techniques
My Posing System Technique 1: Systematically Sculpting the Body Distributing Weight for Natural Posing Symmetrical Posing Technique 2: Posing the Hands Posing Hands in Large Groups Technique 3: Posing the Face The "X" Factor Technique 4: Injecting Expression and Balancing Energies Cliches Don't Work! Eyes Must Be Posed Technique 5: Give Specific Directions
Getting the Most Out of This Chapter Traditional Him Behind Her Her Behind Him Walking Kissing Playful, Action, Movement Holding Hands Sitting Together Side by Side Interpretive Distance Apart Hugging Foreground/Background Facing Each Other Kiss Anticipation Featuring Him Featuring Her T-Pose
Part 3: Execution
Lighting through Direction Simplicity through Subtraction Beauty through Angles The Tourist Test Bird's Perspective Dog's Perspective Perspective through Lenses
Part 4: Deliberate Practice
Perform Discover Technical Problems Location Problems Lighting Problems Pose/Expression Problems Approach Problems Artistic/Creative Problems Breaking It Down Analyze Step-by-Step Practice Session Situation Breakdown Exercise Log Integrating the Location Chart and Previous Practice Sessions Practice Session Photos and Analysis of Results Real-Life Application of New Skill Set Final Practice Examples Weeds or Plants Narrow Hallways Foreground/Background and Silhouettes Ruffled Dress
Final Words Index
About the Author
Roberto Valenzuela is a California wedding photographer with many accolades under his belt. He is a valued speaker at many conferences.