Good Portrait Captures Soul

Photography and Text By Isa Shiekh © All rights reserved.

It is not easy to take good portraits: those that capture the soul of the person sitting in front of the camera. A good portrait can reveal secrets about the person: his character. How to capture the soul? It is the art of a good portrait photographer. It takes time and invariable efforts to get a sharp eye to capture the essence. It is said that the eyes are represent of soul and a good photographer knows the importance of eyes in a portrait session.
By coming closer to the model either physically or with the help of tele / portrait lens one can capture the eyes that are communicating. By coming too close physically you may upset the model by interfering in his sphere. Some prefer the small tele such as 80 -135 zoom lens to try to come close but not too close. Sometimes an eye light is added to give them life.
In this era of glamour, erotic, exposure and shocking the art of portraits is vanishing. The emphasis is on the figure, curves and body forms and the face; mirror of the soul is abandoned. The face is a wonder creation of God and every one is unique with his or her own characteristics. You have to be e psychologist too while taking the portraits.
A good Portrait can be compared to a work of art, eternal. Men, women, children can be captured and arrested in a pose or an expression with certain gesture making it immortal. One requires optimum conditions when one is creating a great portrait. There should be proper atmosphere to create right mood. The music, the decor and the small props can make model relaxed and comfortable and forget that he or she being photographed.
Every human being wants to look at its best in a photograph. The photographer has to flatter making a beautiful image by soft focus lenses and filters and soft lighting. The ladies of all ages want to look younger without wrinkles and at their best in a portrait. As a photographer you may have other intentions not merely making the model look beautiful. The artistic, original and creative photographs may not flatter the model, suitable for art circles and photo exhibitions.
The choice of the background can affect the impact of a photograph and clothes of the models, props used and the selection of the colors around. Taking the portraits on the locations and in the natural surroundings, may add something extra in portraits. The familiar surroundings may enable the model to relax. It specially applies to the children and the old people who are more comfortable in their own environments.
A good photographer tries to find something extra; something unique that can make the portrait extra ordinary.
A good composition makes portrait immortal. The placing of the eyes, the head, the choice of the angle and the perspective can enhance the affect immortalizing it. That is why a good photographer must form an image first in his head and even on paper and then take the photograph. Lighting is a part of the composition and one can paint with the lights. The standard set-up is to use 4 lamps and each lamp has it own special function. There is key light, the fill light, the background and back light. The key light is the main light. The sun is the strongest sources of light and it lights the model and create the image you have in mind. The fill light takes away hard shadows and softens the hard light. The backlight can be a flattering light creating a halo around the model. The background light is used to lit the background and separate it from the model. One can break the laws and use fewer lights but a photographer should be clear in his mind what he is trying to achieve? One can use fast films in order to shoot in the existing lights. The advantage is one is free from all the irritating lamps and concentrate on the face. The uses of electronic flashes with the umbrellas are popular with professionals and in the studios. They give soft shadow less light that gives superb results.
To make a face look younger, the photographer has to apply certain tricks: remove the wrinkles and other blemishes on the face with the help of make up. There are different types of filters and pieces of cloths are used in order to create a beautiful loveable face. A photographer has other tools too in his possession to manipulate the images while taking photograph or add them at the printing stage. The new computer technology has many tools to manipulate and improve the images such as in Photo Shop. The retouching and manipulation of images in the computer is a new art and has revolutionized the photographic industry. But a creative photograph still love to take the photographs in the old way and old cameras. The digital cameras have arrived and they make it possible to see and manipulate the final results on the spot. One can perform wonder with the images inside the computers creating something new and original. Lots of possibilities exist for bluffing and innovations.
A good portrait is forever and it is the criteria of judging a portrait, as it never grows old. The masterpieces by the masters of photography are still living and breathing images affecting the viewers. Photography is an art and a creative photographer can learn form the great masters photographers and other artists by studying their techniques of composition, lighting and using perspectives. Portrait taking is an important part of photography and there is considerable scope for future creative work using new tools and new techniques. One can conclude by saying that human face is exceptional, full of mysteries and wonders each person is unique and if the photographer can arrest the soul then one has joined the selected band of great artist photographers.

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