Exercise: Review a portrait sequence

Set up a portrait session in a formal and structure way so that you have a consistent setting and framing.

Take at least 20 shots for different expressions. Concentrate on the expression; write down frame by frame progress of your subject’s expression

What did I feel were the best images at the time and how does that compare to my thoughts now. Had it affected how I’d direct the subject

To start with, I didn’t use a tripod but with the aid of continuous shooting and close framing, I feel that this gave me better results.

I had a perfect subject for this exercise, it was at the end of a day learning about portrait photography and we’d all moved from strangers to being friends over the day, the rain had started to come down, light was fading and we were just strolling back to the classroom. While waiting for one of the group to catch up we were just stood there chatting, myself with Hazel (the subject) and Lyn. This proved to be the perfect situation as Hazel was looking mostly at Lyn for the start so I was able to get some subtle photographs without her realising that I was snapping as well as talking and the advantage of continuous shooting gave me a good selection to choose from. The least successful is obviously the one where she has her eyes shut; this was captured due to the continuous shooting and in a normal exercise would be deleted. The acceptable image is the next frame along where Hazel has opened her eyes which is an interesting portrait but there are better in the series. The choice between good and best was quite small as I like both of them as portraits. For me, good is full of character, Hazel is a relaxed subject and it shows the essence of the day where even though the weather was damp, we were still enjoying ourselves. Best just edged out the good photograph because it’s a more traditional portrait, subject filling the frame, looking away from the camera, smiling and looking relaxed. The exercise certainly captured the different facial changes and expressions that my subject went through and I prefer the effects of this to a posed photograph. I wouldn’t direct my subject differently if I revisited this, I’d be conscious that they needed to have some distraction to relax them and to spend time with them so that they were more relaxed with the camera around

a) Not good


b) Acceptable


c) Good


d) The best single shot


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