© 2014 Wazari Wazir | Close Up Portraiture of My Daughter Arianna
“I always felt like the close-up portrait was the most essential, the most valid picture out there, it was just all about the person, not about their clothes, not about the environment, not about their background, not giving any hints to their social status.”
– Martin Schoeller –
Lately I like to do some kind of environmental portraiture shot for my family picture, I like to have some kind of background story about whereabout my subject, the places they have been to, for an instance, but in doing so, the portrait, I mean the face of the person in photograph is a bit small in the frame.
Now enter close up portraiture, just like what professional photographer said in his quote above, when we took a close up portrait of a person, it was just about the person, not about their clothing, environment, background or their social status, it’s purely about the person.
Some people are a little bit afraid or feel intimidated when someone photograph them close up, well, it depend on your approach, I’ve photograph people at close up distance during my travel and with the right approach, it should be fine and doable.
Here I like to share with you just a little bit tips when photographing a children. First rule especially if you are photographing super active child that does not know how to stand still, make you that you are using suer fast shutter speed, in the photograph above I use shutter speed of 1/1250, with an aperture set at f/2. My one year old daughter, Arianna did cry in the shot, no, don’t get me wrong here, she is not crying because she is hurt or something, but simply she just wanted to be free.
I put her sitting on a falling log just outside my hose, her legs could not reach the ground, so that she can’t stand and running away from me, and that’s why she cried. I took the shot with 50mm f/1.4 lens but set the aperture at f/2. So the first rule is to use really fast shutter speed, but in doing so, you need to make sure that the area that you are going to photograph your children or someone else children is well lit, in a bright area, then only you can use fast shutter speed.
The second rules is that, if you are photographing a person with a wide open aperture, you must be aware that the depth of field is very shallow, if you are photographing your subject, a little bit from the side, not exactly frontal where both eye were parallel, the you need to focus on the eye that is closer to the lens. In the photograph above, my daughter left eye is closer to the lens, so I set my focus point on her left eye, if you look closely, you will notice that, her right eye is a little bit out of focus. If both eye were parallel to the lens, then you won’t have this kind of a problem. I think you won’t have a problem photographing an adult with a parallel eye to the lens because they can follow order and can stand still for a few seconds.
The best close up shot is on location, I mean, get close up portraiture on the location, do not shoot loosely and then you crop it tight in the computer using photoshop, you will lose some details. Yes, you can vary your shot at the location, shoot some loose portraiture with a little bit background and then get close up, fills the frame with someone face or head. Do not afraid. I think great close up portraiture woks best when the person being photograph shows some kind of emotion. Before you are going to photograph strangers in close up mode, you better start with your family and friends first. Get yourself comfortable photographing someone close up at a close distance, and your photographs will never be the same again.