Photographic Portraits

Today Kippa Matthews, our photographer, ran a session on portrait photography.

We started by looking at examples of different types of portrait, including works by photographers such as Jane Bown, Steve Pyke, Arnold Newman, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Martin Parr.

We discussed the different types of lighting used – several of the portraits we looked at used as much natural light as possible. We also talked about the difference between close-up facial shots, where you get a lot of detail of the subject’s face, and more contextual shots, often shot in a location that has some link to the subject’s profession or their interests.

We talked about the importance of pose, setting, lighting and location and linked this back to the painted portraits we researched at the art gallery. We also talked about the relationship between the photographer and the subject and the viewer’s reaction to the portraits – some of the portraits we looked at showed the subject staring straight into the camera so the viewer can make eye contact with them.

Then it was our turn to take photographs… Kippa set up two areas for us to shoot in, one near the window using only natural light and one that was more like a studio set up, with a black back-drop and studio lighting.

Everyone had a go at being the photographer and the subject and we tried out different angles and different close ups, with some really close up shots of the subjects’ faces and some of their head and shoulders.

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