How to photograph people Part 1

By Vibeke Dahl

6. June 2011 

Taking a good portrait of a person is about them looking their best. Facial expression and emotion goes hand in hand For some of us, reading expressions and knowing how someone feels is an intuitive skill.

For others it is not a natural habit, but with careful observation can be easily learned. All you have to do is to be interested in people watching- and your seeing will develop. All people have a light within themselves. People literally “light up” when they smile. Absolutely everybody, regardless of facial features and age becomes beautiful when this light radiates through their eyes. This light is not only present in a smile, it is also present in a semi serious expressions. A person can give smiley impressions also with a serious face, because their light is engaged. It is as simple as that. All you have to do is to observe the degree of light present in people and notice how it makes them beautiful. Sadly many people look and smile sad and empty smiles without much light. It is therefore up to you as the photographer to make their light appear. Their mood will be a reflection of your own mood, so your own input in being relaxed and upbeat is of crucial importance. Project : Choose a person to practice on and see how many types of expressions You can create in that one person. Line the pictures up in a row and decide which ones you like best and why. Notice if the person is projecting a look to you or whether it is totally natural. Notice their eyes – are they dead or alive? A smile has many versions and. Often it is not the most obvious cheesy smile that is the most interesting.

Keep three of your favorite pictures and then repeat the experience with somebody else. Is there a similarity between the two sets of pictures? Here is my own experiment. There are two portraits with smile eyes and one without.