Portrait Photography


Capturing our own likeness has been a quest of the human race for thousands of years. One might start from the very rudimentary cave paintings, to the paintings of gods in Egypt and Greece, to portrait paintings of royalty and other members of the clergy and then the unabashedly vain selfie of today.

photo by dylan m howell

photo by Portland photographer Dylan M Howell

Portrait photography or portraiture is the art of photography of a person or group of people that captures the personality and strength of a subject by using effective lighting, backdrops, and poses.  A portrait picture might be artistic and be very much aesthetically pleasing, or it might be clinical, as part of a medical study. Frequently, portraits are commissioned for special occasions, such as weddings or school events and these would be under the heading of event photography. Portraits can serve many purposes, from usage on a private Web site to display in the lobby of a business.

Dye to the daguerreotype in the middle of the 19th century being of relatively low cost than the cotemporaries and the condensed sitting time for the person being photographed, though obviously still much longer than now, led to a wide-ranging rise in the attractiveness of portrait photography over painted portraiture. The style of these early photographs showed the technical challenges associated with extended exposure times and the painterly visual of the time. Subjects were generally seated against basic backgrounds and lit with the soft light of a slide window and whatever else could be reflected with mirrors. However advances in photographic equipment and techniques developed have given the photographers the ability to capture images with shorter exposure times and the luxury of capturing portraits outside the studio.

Portrait photography is inherently usually personal. Of course there might be cases where one is asked to take the senior portrait of the pass out students, or to take photos for identity cards of different nature. But barring those, one often has a lot of emotion tied up with photos one takes, as a photographer and as a subject. If you are going to make energetic photos that expose something about your portrait subjects, first have to appreciate something about people. Not just people in common, but your specific subject – the subject in front of you who is sitting for a portrait because she or he has paid you to have a photo made, because you really want to take their photo, or for whatever reason it might be.

Depending upon the circumstances, you may not be aware of much about your subjects before you begin your portrait session. Of course, the opposite is also possible-you may be photographing your family and have a lifetime of information and awareness about them. If you actually do not know much about your subject, and your time to learn about them is short, then you’ll have to rely heavily on your instinct, perception, and general feel of people. And not to forget the ever important power of small talk here which might be able to make your subject feel at ease and get you unforgettable portraits.

Why You Should Print Your Photographs

Why you should print your photographs?

cat portrait

We live in a digital age. There’s a tendency to computerize all information, and nowadays most of the information that we have is stored on hard drives. Once upon a time there were paperback books, for example. Today the trend is that many new books come out in a format that will fit into a computer. The same goes for papers – many of them are electronic nowadays. And finally, photos. There used to be a time when you had to have photos in a physical form – there was no other way to be had. But as time went by there came up this trend to computerize everything, including the photos.

Well, despite this being practical and despite the fact that this eases up some of the work that you’d have to do if you wanted a physical copy of a photo – we’ll argue that printing your photos will have some benefits for you. Below you’ll find a couple of reasons why we believe that this is really the case.

Printing adds life to photos

The first reason on the benefits of printing a photo that we’d like to mention is the fact that you’ll become a better editor if you have a physical photography at your hands. Most people nowadays see Instagram photos from their cellphone. As you know, cellphones have small screens, and in this way a big part of the charm of a photo could easily be lost. Also, if you’re viewing the photos on a monitor, such as on your laptop, the quality of your perception of the photo that you’re seeing may suffer. This goes out especially if your monitor could use some cleaning. Chances are there will be some dust speck that will ruin parts of the photo. If you have a printed version of the photo, then you wouldn’t have to care about these issues. And you’ll have a bigger, physical photo in your hands now, meaning you can analyze in depth on some of the details that may elude you if you’re viewing the photo from your cellphone. This will make you a better editor of photos.

Related to this, you’ll become a better photographer, which is your primary goal if you wish to excel in the field of photography. Printing a photo means that you’ll have a bigger version of it, so that you can see the photo in all its glory, with the goods sides and the bad sides as well. This will help you analyze the good and bad parts, distill these differences into principles, and ingrain them in your conscious knowledge. This will dramatically improve your skill in photography.

Physical copies of photos, such as printed photos, have an ephemeral, ungraspable charm to them. It’s obvious to everyone that you’re seeing the exact same photo that you have in your hard drive, the only difference being that it’s in a physical form… but there’s still some ungraspable element that gives the printed photo some kind of a charm that the digital photo doesn’t have. Try it out for yourself, find a photo that you like on the internet, and then print it out. Then compare the two versions of the photo. Chances are, the printed version will seem somehow more real than the digital one. This is a well-documented effect, and not one to be taken lightly.

We’ve established that the photos come to life when printed… well this could be metaphorical as well as literal. In the literal sense – photos do come to life – literally. This means that they are no longer some bits of computer code, ones and zeros, but they are manifested in the physical world. So, if your hard drive should crash one day and the photos that you have had stored there become irretrievable, then you’ll always have the physical copies of the printed photos at your side. This is a smart investment of your money, as hard drives are notorious for their ability to one day fail without any warning whatsoever.

Finally, we’ll mention the fact that printing your photos is just plain fun. It can be the finishing touch of your work – after you took the photo on your digital camera, and then edited it via Photoshop on your laptop, finally, your work is done, and now you can print it out and awe at its beauty. This can make you feel fulfilled, and really happy, as many photographers can attest to this feeling.

So, there you have it. You now have some of the most important reasons as to why you should print out your photos. There are many others as well, and since the sole price that you need to pay for printing your photos is a printer, and some paper, you can consider it as a really cheap investment that will not only make you a better photographer, but it will make you just a bit happier and more fulfilled as a person.