Bobbi Lane sheds light on the secrets to achieving an impactful picture by developing a bond with the person first. She discusses the importance of overcoming your fears when it comes to asking strangers for a picture and how to deal with language barriers in different scenarios.
*Please scroll to the bottom of the post for more images from our guest.*
Creating Impactful Travel Portraits
with Bobbi Lane
Finding Your Subjects
- Stand on the street corner and observe the rhythm. Take your time to look. Let other people see you observing. “See and be seen.”
- Look at the actions of the people around you.
- Look for the LIGHT. Find the light first and wait for people, find people, or direct people into the light.
“You can make any background work if you have light that’s appropriate to the subject.”
- Approach your subject from the direction that gives the best light and background. Let them see you and turn to face you.
It’s All About the Light
- Direction – Where is it placing highlights and shadows on the subject?
- Quality – Hard or soft? The quality of the light changes the mood of the image.
- Depth – Dark shadows can increase the drama of the image.
“If you don’t have light that’s appropriate for your subject, then you’re not going to have a photo with any impact.”
- Use a reflector instead of a fill flash for more natural looking light.
- Buildings in full sun can act as reflectors for people standing in the shade.
- Can’t avoid bright sun? Tip the subject’s face up slightly to light the eyes.
- “Porch Light” – shaded from above with ambient light filtering in from the sides and below. Creates a beautiful light on the face and in the eyes.
- Deep shade – if exposed correctly, the light can be either directional or flat.
- Direct your subject to turn so that light is on their face the way you want it.
Approaching Your Subject
- Be aware, be prepared, be patient and be kind.
- Plan ahead. Have your camera exposure already set up. Know how you want your subject positioned BEFORE you approach them. This makes for a smoother interaction with your subject.
- Let them know everything up front – who you are, why you’re shooting, and why you chose them as a subject. Let them know that you’ll be posing them and that this could take 5-10 minutes of their time. (Ask if this is still ok with them.)
- Have fun with people! Communicate with smiles and gestures. Laugh!! Be sure to show them the images on the back of the camera.
- Keep it to ONE photographer at a time per subject. This helps to reduce distraction and makes them feel less like an object.
- Treat your subjects with the dignity, honor and respect that all human beings deserve.
Simple Rules of Composition
- Place the eyes 1/3 from the top of the frame.
- Don’t place the head in the center of the frame.
- The face should be about 1/3 from the edge of the frame, with extra space in the direction they are looking.
- Really expressive eyes? Cut off the top of the head and place the eyes even higher! (Only for close-ups!)
- Including more of the background adds to the story of the image.
“The higher the eyes are in the frame, the more the viewer’s attention is focused on the eyes.”