Robin Michals | COMD 1340 Photography 1 DO97

Author: rmichals (Page 3 of 9)

Week 11 – Portrait Basics

Portrait Poses

There are three basic positions for someone’s head and face in a portrait.

  1. Front view
  2. 3/4 view
  3. Profile


For family photos a smile is a must but not so for a portrait. It is however important that your subject look comfortable. It is your job as the photographer to talk with your subject and make them feel comfortable.


When shooting a portrait, the subject’s eyes must be in focus. Full stop. period.

Portrait Lighting Styles

There are a 5 basic lighting styles for portrait photography. Each style is defined by how light falls on the face.

  1. Rembrandt Light – the model is face forward, main light is at 45 degrees and casts a light on the opposite side of the face to form a triangle on the cheek.

Rembrandt Lighting
Michael B. Jordan. Photographer: Peggy Sirota

2. Broad Light-model’s face in 3/4 view-light falls on the side of the face with the visible ear. Good for controlling the reflections on glasses.

Danny Devito. Photographer: Gregory Heisler.

3. Short Light-model’s face is in 3/4 view, the light falls on the side of the face with the features. (Not on the side with the visible ear.)

Both of these are examples of short light.

Chadwick Boseman. Photographer: Caitlin Cronenburg

4. Butterfly Light, Clamshell or beauty or glamour light-model is face forward, front light.

Tyra Banks. Photographer: Matthew Jordan Smith

5. Split Light-model is face forward, the main light is at 90 degrees to the camera and falls on one side of the face. 

Lewis Wickes Hine (U.S.A., 1874–1940), One of the spinners in Whitnel Cotton Mfg. Co. N.C. December 1908.



Portrait Lighting Styles

Homework Assignment

Window Light Portraits

HW 8: Childhood

4 pts. Due Nov 16. Photographing one stuffed animal or doll, create 15 images that communicate the idea of a happy childhood and 15 images that convey the idea of a difficult or traumatic childhood.

Pick one stuffed animal or doll. Do not use any elaborate figurines or a toy that is shiny and reflective.

Photograph it with a range of locations, using the light -both direction and quality, and composition to create images that convey the idea of a happy childhood and a traumatic childhood.

Do not use props. Convey the message with the light and the composition and your choice of location.

Work where there is adequate light. That means outside during the day or by a window during the day. Shoot some each with front, side, and back light. Try some in direct light and some in diffused light. Try to create the greatest range of emotion from really happy to miserably sad.

Week 10: Studio Photography

Review – Light Quality and Direction


Filippo Drudi – the Fork

Studio Lighting

Continuous lights – Always on. Can be tungsten, fluorescent, LED

Strobe Lights – Electronic flash. The light for the exposure is fired at the time of exposure.

White Balance

adjustment for the color of the light so that a white object will appear white


Reflected Light meter-measures the light as it falls on the camera. The camera meter is a reflected light meter.

Incident meter-measures the light that falls on the subject

Flash meter- is a form of incident meter but measures the light at the time of exposure. Use it to determine the correct aperture.

Three rules for still life lighting:

  • There should be one set of shadows.
  • the background should be far enough from the subject to light it separately
  • if you do have shadows, use them in the composition

The main light– casts the shadows.

The fill light – brightens the shadows.


Studio Photography


HW 8: Childhood

Lab: Week 10 – Studio Basics

Round 1:

Working with a small stuffed animal, photograph it at each lighting station to get a range of very different results. Post to an album on Flickr a minimum of 12 images from this round.

Round 2:

Photograph that stuffed animal to make it communicate any four of these:

  • happy
  • sad
  • angry
  • surprised
  • cheerful
  • afraid
  • proud

Plan which station you think is best for each emotion. Use the light and composition to communicate. Post to an album on Flickr a minimum of 8 images from this round.

HW 7: Lighting Direction

Due Nov 9. 4 pts.

Working outside on a sunny day, photograph subjects and their shadows. Your subjects could be anything: a person, a tree, a dog, a bridge. What counts is the light falling on it.

Think of the sun as your main light and move so that it is a front light, a side light and a back light.

Take 10 photos where the shadow falls away from the camera otherwise known as front light.

Take 10 photos where the shadow falls to the side otherwise known as side light.

Take 10 photographs where the shadow falls towards you otherwise known as back light.

Each photo should be unique.

Post to an album on Flickr and send the best examples of each type of light to the class group.

Due: November 9th, 2:30 pm

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