Natural Portrait Photography On the Go

BlogHer Original Post

Spontaneous Gifts

Sometimes, the natural world presents itself so spontaneously and dramatically that you, as a photographer, need only to react. This could include a sudden rainstorm, a strong wind whipping up out of nowhere, or people jumping up and reacting to a pint glass of beer that's been spilled on a bar counter. Anything that causes people to react and forget about the camera is a gift.

For this shot, we only had the ringing of rails to warn us that something spectacular was imminent. In the thirty seconds I had to prepare, I made everyone stop and wait, set my ISO and white balance and dropped the shutter speed to capture movement. Then, as the train rounded the corner, I threw Kristin right right beside it.

"What do I do?" She asked. "Just stand here?"

"Sure!" I answered, "But don't look at me, look at that giant, loud thing passing by!"

The result was the perfect contrast of powerful movement and Kristin's calm, hand-in-pockets curiosity.

Woman watching train

Phone Portraiture

Finally, remember to play around with different cameras in order to gauge your subject's comfort level. Your DSLR with the fancy lenses can capture beautiful photos, but it can make people feel more nervous and on the spot than an easy point and shoot. Probably the most convenient camera, in terms of having a relaxed subject, is the camera phone. By now, everyone is used to seeing phones out, everywhere, at all times, and their demeanor will hardly shift when you pull yours out.

And I'm a huge proponent of filters- they are like a quick, instant airbrush.

Woman on dock

Man smirking

Man by store

Go forth, bring your camera with you, read your audience, and go for it. Good luck!

This post is part of BlogHer's Pro Photo Tips series, made possible by Panasonic.


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