Camera Club September 

This was our first meeting for the coming year held in the Carpenters Arms.  Jonathan Ellis had kindly agreed to give a talk about portrait photography.  At the conclusion of his talk, he had some of us act as model and others as photographer, using his camera, tripod and reflector board (an old piece of board painted matt white) under his watchful eye and guidance!!

Jonathan gave us lots of helpful tips and examples when taking our own portrait photographs.  He said it is important for the sitter to feel relaxed and at ease with the photographer to obtain a successful portrait.

Other tips were:

  • establish where does the light come from,
  • the eyes of the sitter,
  • to have a neutral background which makes the face standout or if there is a background make it out of focus.

Cecil Beaton’s Coronation photograph of the Queen is an example of out of focus background.

Jane Bown liked to use natural light or positioned lights to get the best effect possible. Here she used natural light in her portraits of Samuel Becket and Dame Judy Dench. When using lights, it is common practice for two to be positioned with a possible third placed behind the subject and sometimes photographers like to use lighting from quirky angles as with these two examples.

Black and white is good for portraits and with digital cameras any light can be used.  Black and white photography is often more telling as with Richard Avedon’s portrait of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.  Here we can see sadness in their eyes and the strain of life.

Jonathan also advised that to take a full face-on photograph is very difficult unless the subject is extremely photogenic and glasses can be a problem – always ensure the light coming in does not create a reflection.

Finally, here are a few we took at the end of Jonathan’s excellent presentation – please see pdf report

Camera Club Blog September 2022 (pdf)