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The Portrait Photography Handbook: Your Guide to Taking Better Portrait Photographs

The Portrait Photography Handbook: Your Guide to Taking Better Portrait Photographs

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The Portrait Photography Handbook: Your Guide to Taking Better Portrait Photographs

4.5/5 (2 valutazioni)
76 pagine
45 minuti
Apr 7, 2015


The Portrait Photography Handbook is an installment in the Photography Essentials Series. This guide to all things that have to do with portrait photography is designed to cover multiple topics that will help you shoot better portrait photographs. The Portrait Photography Handbook will take you through the topics of composition, how to shoot various types of situations, lighting, how to manage your clients, kid portraits, engagement sessions, weddings and much more. Implementing the lessons covered in The Portrait Photography Handbook will help you take more detailed, and better composed portrait photographs that will improve your photography portfolio.

Apr 7, 2015

Informazioni sull'autore

Raised in Middle Tennessee, I have always been interested in photography. During high school I was able to enhance my delight for fine art photography through the use of a Canon 35mm film camera and developing my own photos in a dark room. My interests continued as I traveled to Australia during college. I was able to find a strong passion for being outdoors while finding beauty in nature and capturing the moment in a photograph. My degree in geography helps me understand and appreciate the formations that I enjoy visiting. After graduating, I returned to Nashville. Since being back in Nashville I took private lessons to make my photographs have strong lighting and compositions fundamentals. I have worked extremely hard to translate my knowledge of geography and photography to the fine art world. I have been recognized as an award winning photographer in my region and have been featured in several interviews for my work and inspiration. I am known as an up-and-coming photographer with a very unique style and method. When I am not working on photography I enjoy spending time with my wife, watching sports, reading, studying scripture, and spending time with family and friends. Artist Statement: It is my goal to produce exceptional fine art that is both artistically inspirational and compositionally superb. When I go into the field to work after studying the location tirelessly, I have an image in mind of how I want the final product to look. To reproduce the image I have imagined, I use an assortment of lenses, tools, and effects so that the piece of art you see matches the one I first created mentally. When I am creating a piece of work I turn through mental lessons and experiences to get a Scriptural inspiration for the scene that is unfolding in front of me. I do this because I want the artwork to represent the passion and inspiration that I pour into it. Each piece of art is independently inspired, and once I complete my work I title it by the very verse or collection of verses that came to my mind during the creation process. Each day is unique and I try to reflect God’s creativity in my work. As far as composition is concerned, I create a sense of invitation to my photographs. Leading lines, rhythm, repetition, contrast, and balance all go into consideration when I am planning on visiting a location and while I am in the field creating my vision. I intentionally go through composition principals so that each piece of artwork will be as aesthetically parallel to the inspiration and hard work that goes into it. If I believe my work has achieved what I set out to do I will add it to my collection, but only if it is of the highest quality possible. I create images that are not commonly seen so that they can be individually cherished and inspirational forms of artwork.

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Top citazioni

  • Now, you can tell them to smile or remain stoic, but just tell them to look down and then up on three and you will shoot natural expressions every time.

  • When he told her to look down then up on three, her expression was so natural it blew us both away.

  • Exposure is how bright or dark a photograph is.

Anteprima del libro

The Portrait Photography Handbook - David Johnston

The photography Essentials Series

The Portrait Photography Handbook

By David Johnston

Copyright 2015 David Johnston

Distributed by Smashwords

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this ebook and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Chapter 1 - A Brief Overview of Camera Settings

What is Exposure?

Understanding exposure is the first step to creating interesting photographs in manual mode. If you just got a DSLR camera I’m begging you to learn how to use creative exposures with your camera. If you’ve been using your DSLR in green mode (fully automatic mode) you’ve probably experienced some frustration with trying to make your photographs look better than ones taken on your phone. I’ve been there and I had to figure it out the hard way over an entire year! Let me teach you how to take better photographs by understanding exposure so that you don’t waste a year.


Exposure is how bright or dark a photograph is. If a photographer says their photo is under-exposed, it’s too dark. If they say their photograph is over-exposed, it’s too bright. The trick is getting the exposure just right. That’s it! I told you exposure is easy. While the fully automatic mode will balance the exposure, using creative exposure modes will help you take dynamic photographs while balancing your own exposures.

The Problem with Green Mode

When I talk about green mode I’m talking about fully automatic mode. This is the mode on your camera that chooses every setting for you. Sounds great and easy right? The camera will make my photograph look great, right? Wrong. The camera has no idea what type of photo you want or what situation you are in. Its one job is to read surrounding light and balance it. It doesn’t care if your kids are running around inside and you don’t want to use a flash because it makes them look like they are in a prison! It doesn’t care that it’s dark and you don’t want your family to be blurry. Let me show you. Here’s a photograph using automatic mode followed by the same photograph I took using a creative mode.



I did not edit these photos; they were just taken with a balanced exposure. The first photograph was taken using automatic mode. The camera chose everything for me and determined the scene was too dark so it incorporated the flash. The shutter speed was very fast because the flash was used. That froze the water in place and caused inconsistent lighting with distracting highlights throughout the photograph.

The second photograph taken using a creative exposure mode (manual mode) at the same balanced exposure. This time I chose all of the settings myself. I was able to make the water look smoother, more dynamic, and less distracting while showing the same lighting throughout the photograph. My point: stop using automatic mode!

Using Shutter, Aperture, and ISO Together

Let’s start with a story. I have found myself on the sidelines of a University of Tennessee football game in 2013. My mission: get amazing photographs that can be used in sports articles. No pressure, right? The game started around noon and it was a beautiful, sunny day. I knew that I wanted to use a fast shutter speed so that the athlete’s movements wouldn’t be blurry, so I set the shutter speed

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