Jaqueline Whalen  

Portrait by Jaqueline Whalen

July 2021 - Portrait

About the Image(s)

I recently took a photography workshop. The assignment was to take a portrait of people you didn't know in a public place. This young man worked at a Produce stand and was kind enough to let me take his photograph. This was hand held with no flash inside the stand.

This round’s discussion is now closed!
8 comments posted

Martin Newland   Martin Newland
This assignment took you to a place between somewhere street photography and portraiture. Each genre is challenging in it's own right. The street photography side of this task is kind of like speed dating, where you have to convey your confidence to a total stranger in 5 minutes or less, while thinking on your feet to get everything else right.
You need to prepare your camera settings beforehand (shutter speed, aperture, ISO) by taking a few photos in the area before approaching your subject. Think about the background you want to use and the composition before approaching your subject. When you are ready, approach your subject, then all you now need to think about is focusing the camera and getting the composition right.
Unfortunately your focusing is off (always focus on the eyes, they must be sharp) and in my mind the background is too bright. My suggestion would be in such a situation, set the shutter speed and the aperture to values you are comfortable with, then crank up the ISO to achieve the correct exposure.
Roberto Valenzuela did a video for "Creative Live" in which he said, "Your subject must be the biggest, the most in focus and the brightest." This quote lingers in my mind every time I do a "people" shot.
This was a really challenging assignment and it will become easier the more often you do it.   Posted: 07/01/2021 23:09:31

Jaqueline Whalen   Jaqueline Whalen
You know, photography is an interesting medium. How do you get people to see or feel what you are trying to say or feel? I am very used to doing street photography, and yes, prepare everything before hand because you have the blink of an eye to get the correct image. I did that and it was a purposeful application of the settings I found to work. My focusing is not "way off" as you put it. It is intentional. The eye in the back is the place where I wanted people to land. There seems to be something hidden in his look that I found intriguing. I was trying to portray that. I have another I took of him that is spot on in focus but I did not find the photo nearly as intriguing to look at.
The comment you made about the background being too bright is spot on. I got so caught up in the eye of the picture that I did not see the importance of toning the background highlights down.
Thanks for the comments. Let's just agree to disagree!   Posted: 07/02/2021 07:35:26

Karen Botvin   Karen Botvin
It was very nice that this young man agreed to pose for your portrait, Jaqueline, but I have to agree with Martin's comments. I don't do portraits much at all but I recently took a workshop from a gentleman, Rick Ferro, that shoots for Disney World. His instruction is to first determine which eye is the bigger (everyone has one eye that's bigger than the other) then have the model posed so that the bigger eye is closest. You should also be aware of how much white of the eye is showing and keep that to a minimum when you set the model's gaze. Check out his website at RickFerro.com He has a Rick's Tips tab there you might find helpful. I envy you in that you were able to ask this young man to pose. I have trouble doing that so I just take candid shots on the street.   Posted: 07/02/2021 11:20:24

Jaqueline Whalen   Jaqueline Whalen
Thanks for the tip Karen. I will check out the website you recommend. I will add a post for the group once I get to my photo files that has this good fellow completely in focus!   Posted: 07/02/2021 15:43:29

Shirley Pohlman   Shirley Pohlman
Jaqueline, when I first looked at your image, I did notice the eye closest to me was out of focus, but I really thought it was intentional. I like this because it makes the viewer think!   Posted: 07/02/2021 16:13:37
Jaqueline Whalen   Jaqueline Whalen
Thanks, Shirley. Yup, makes you think a bit!   Posted: 07/05/2021 08:24:07

Piers Blackett   Piers Blackett
My first reaction was the dreamy thoughtful look you captured - but agree there is a lack of story going on and the background light in a problem. Great lessons from Martin. I think there is some preparation analogy to sports and I think having a few presets on the camera helps with rapid decisions - anyway it does with wildlife I think.   Posted: 07/04/2021 19:27:21
Jaqueline Whalen   Jaqueline Whalen
I am going to work on the photo to tone the background down. Now that several people have mentioned it that is all I can see in the picture. funny how that works! Thanks for the comments. Your comment about lack of story is an interesting one and has me thinking abut the venue and what I could have done to create that. Interesting thoughts!   Posted: 07/05/2021 08:23:28