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assignment 6: portraiture

Target: Gain experience in a variety of portrait styles, learning to capture the essence of the person.


Directions:  Take photos that demonstrate your understanding of the following portrait styles:

  1. environmental/candid - engage with your subjects surroundings

  2. formal portrait- try shooting with both hard and soft light, find your style​, this would be a great time to try side light and/or colored light

  3. double exposure portrait - using a blending app combine 2 or more photos to add a mood or story 

  4. write a written reflection in the style of Yousuf Karsh or HONY instead of the regular captions, give us some insight into the personality of the subject

Be sure to include Side Light, Colored Light and Patterned Shadow & Light

​Turn in your best example of each style, and 2 choice portraits. (5 images)


  • consider every aspect of the image, everything that makes it into the field of view in the foreground,           middleground, and background 

  • focus on creativity (try unusual combinations, tell a story, solve problems, create something unique)

  • incorporate more into your shooting and editing

    • use different types of light (soft, hard, side, patterned)

    • set your shutter speed on purpose

    • try black and white

    • crop/perspective crop/rotate crop

    • use props, style your image



Are you an observer or a communicator?

  • If you are an observer you may feel comfortable shooting people in their environments or candidly

  • If you are a communicator you may feel comfortable shooting people in formally (talking to them and directing them)

  • A portrait is usually a collaborative project between the subject and the photographer. It can be helpful to make your subject feel comfortable in front of the camera. Talk to them/engage them so they feel more relaxed and forget you are taking their picture.

Environmental portrait: a portrait executed in the subject's usual environment, such as in their home or workplace, and typically illuminates the subject's life and surroundings.  It can be set up and/or posed.


Candid portrait: a photograph that is captured through motion mostly, without creating a posed appearance. This is achieved by avoiding prior preparation of the subject and by either surprising the subject or by not distracting the subject during the process of taking photos.














Formal portrait: the simplest portrait style that should emphasize the person and nothing else (If you're shooting indoors, you can use a blank wall or closed drapes to create a neutral background. If you're shooting outdoors, the sky makes an excellent neutral backdrop.)

A Double Exposure Portrait utilizes a method of combining two or more images using overlay, blending, and transparency techniques either in camera or in a photo editing program. This allows a simple portrait image to be combined with other images that can tell something about the person, portray an emotion or idea, and become a unique emotive image.

If you have a silhouette to work with, then start at 3 min.

Extension: A Self-Portrait is an image of you taken by yourself that tells something about you.   Consider capturing reflections, shadows, and/or a setting that tells something about you.


Lightroom Tools


For every image remember to:

  • Crop to the image to perfect your composition, level any horizontals, and choose the best aspect ratio for your composition.

  • Edit using the Light filter sliders for exposure, contrast, shadows & highlights, and others of your choice to get the best possible effect.

  • Edit using the Color & Effects filter sliders to impact the mood of your image


black and white: 

  • Try adjusting your image to black and white, especially with formal portraits, to see if that makes the image more compelling. 

  • Try shooting in black and white

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