5 things to remember when shooting portraits

As I take more portraits, there are number of things that are standing out as important for a good portrait shot:

1. Model has to wear something that stands out – wearing bright colors helps. A different type of attire (eg: saree or pretty jewellery) can also add that zing to an otherwise bland shot.

2. Model has to feel comfortable to give natural poses – I almost think it helps a lot if you have another person with you whose sole job is to engage the model and put him/her at ease. Posed shots rarely look good, unless you’re shooting a professional model. Going for a short coffee before the shoot to put him/her at ease with you is a great idea.

3. Shoot early in the morning or at sunset – The light is beautiful and gentle at this time and adds a lot to the overall shot. 10am onwards, it starts getting harsh, more overhead, and creates unnecessary shadows.

4. Have a theme in mind for each photo – each photograph should tell a story. Having some pre-decided themes before the shoot goes a long way in getting interesting frames during the shoot. It’s great if you can keep these themes in sync with the model’s personality. Think lots of flower shots for someone very feminine, and a more edgy shoot for someone more tomboyish.

5. Try a lot of different angles – I usually go through a number of samples online before a shoot to get new ideas. There are so many angles from where you can shoot a person – up, down, sideways, front, close-up, far off, etc etc etc. Try all of them!

Here are the photographs of my friend Nidhi Srivastava, whom I photographed just a few days back:

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Outdoor photoshoot in Philly – II

Spring is officially here and it only makes sense to take full advantage of the lovely mornings! 🙂 This was my second photoshoot in Philly, and I’m slowly beginning to see things that can help in taking good portraits. The biggest challenge is always how to get the subect comfortable in front of the camera. I love capturing candid moments and getting your ‘model’ to open up and feel free remains the single biggest factor that determines the goodness of a photograph.

Following are the photographs of a good friend, Christine Fok:

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San Francisco Belle

I was walking along the Embarcadero in San Francisco a few days back. With the temperatures soaring close to 80 degrees, it was a rare but welcome warm and sunny day in SF. I spent some time getting coffee and enjoying the rich food aromas in Ferry Building, after which I started walking in the direction of Fisherman’s Wharf.

I think it was the pier right after Ferry Building, or perhaps 2 piers later – I was generally photographing the Bay Bridge and boats, when I noticed this girl in a large sun hat, holding a long stemmed red flower, dancing on the pier, fairly oblivious to everything around her. This wasn’t a performance for the benefit of onlookers. It seemed more as if she was practicing. She would try steps for some time, and then suddenly throw her hands up in frustration if she wasn’t happy with the outcome, sit on a nearby bench for a while, and then try the steps again.

Many people stopped by and watched – she danced beautifully. Yet, she seemed to be in a whole different world of her own.

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Photographing babies

A few days back I tried to take photographs of a little baby girl I have come to know over the last few months. Very cute, and an exceptionally happy child, I thought it would be a piece of cake.

Of course, it wasn’t.

Photographing a child is really really hard. First of all – they will never do what you want them to do. Ask them to sit on something, or stand in some place, and of course, all they can do is try and press the buttons on your camera. So, Tip No. 1 – have another person with you, whose sole job is to play with the baby and keep him/her engaged. Second – babies never ever stay still. If they’re sitting, they’ll keep shaking their heads and hands. If they’re upright, of course they’re running. So, Tip No. 2 – use sports mode, in the hope that one of the shots will turn out great.

And overall Tip No. 3 – have a lot of patience. I guess that goes without saying, given that we are combining photography and babies 😀

Here are some of my more successful attempts at an otherwise fairly hopeless endeavor 🙂 –

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