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Portraits - subject looking away from camera

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heffa
 
Posts: 380

Portraits - subject looking away from camera

Post Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:35 pm


I've really become hyper-aware of posed photos where the subject is looking somewhere other than at the camera.

In some shots, it looks perfectly natural and lends a positive "captured in the moment" effect. In others, it is annoyingly obvious that the subject is posed and is just following the instruction to "look away". They have a very unfocused and unrealistic look on their face which, in my opinion, makes for a horrible photo.

What I'm not clear on is what makes the difference, and if it can be managed. Is it as simple as having the subject actually look at something - focus on something specific as opposed to just gazing at nothing? Or is it that some models look natural and others simply don't, no matter what you tell them to do? I've seen one on here who always has the "deer in the headlights" look, so it might just be an individual thing...

Thoughts?

parpho
 
Posts: 235

Re: Portraits - subject looking away from camera

Post Wed Jul 05, 2017 3:05 pm


Lots of people stopping by but no help.
In my experience looking off camera during a portrait session is something that has only recently disappeared. Maybe due the snap shot crowd, and I am not slamming them here, not knowing the rules of formal photography and popular magazines that have everyone smiling at the camera. However, if you wish to pursue this there a couple of thing you need to know. One is formal portrait, if not all portrait sessions, involved the use of a tripod and cable release allowing the photographer to stand to the side of the camera where sitter and shooter could look at on another. At the very least the other item would be that your sitter has to have something on which to focus.
Tricks I have employed. If I am behind the camera I hold a hand out to the side at camera height upon which the sitter can gaze. If the sitter has brought a loved one along simply have them look at one another. If you have two or more people looking off camera you have to designate a spot at which they are all looking other wise you will have the proverbial dogs breakfast. Last, but certainly not the end of your studies, make sure your sitter's nose does not slice the line created by their cheek. Look at the classical work of Karsh and the glamour work of movie star photographer George Hurrell, the man whom invented the boom light for highlighting hair.
Then look at lots of portrait images and shoot,shoot, shoot.
Michael

richo
 
Posts: 217

Re: Portraits - subject looking away from camera

Post Fri Oct 25, 2019 5:31 pm


heffa wrote:I've really become hyper-aware of posed photos where the subject is looking somewhere other than at the camera.

In some shots, it looks perfectly natural and lends a positive "captured in the moment" effect. In others, it is annoyingly obvious that the subject is posed and is just following the instruction to "look away". They have a very unfocused and unrealistic look on their face which, in my opinion, makes for a horrible photo.

What I'm not clear on is what makes the difference, and if it can be managed. Is it as simple as having the subject actually look at something - focus on something specific as opposed to just gazing at nothing? Or is it that some models look natural and others simply don't, no matter what you tell them to do? I've seen one on here who always has the "deer in the headlights" look, so it might just be an individual thing...

Thoughts?

Depends on what your goal is - professional headshot, glamour shot, candid shot, portrait shot, family photo?
I like shots taken for the camera with the subject head not face on to the lens, but turned slightly back with eyes looking to either side of the camera.


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