Gary and I are filling in for Trevor on the Portrait Challenges. Portraiture is far from my forte, and this one kept me up all night as I tried to come up with something new and unique in order to break the monotony of portraits. Being outdoors in the wilderness for the better part of my days, I figured Nature could be an intricate part of a portrait, not just a background, but a prop for your subject to immerse in.
Being an editorial photographer, the first thing that comes to my mind is documenting a discovery experience in nature. Children’s expression as they discover nature can be just priceless.
Framing a child with leaves can enhance a look of innocence. Leaves have a tendency to reflect light, so pay attention as to not let those reflections distract from your subject. Using a polarized filter can also help. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your light by using reflectors and diffusers…
Blurred out foreground vegetation can add depth and mood to your portrait. Pay attention to direct sunlight on your subject, a diffuser can soften the light. Take great care in properly orienting your subject so the light is just right for the photograph you want to create.
Not all vegetation needs to be lush and green, dried out vegetation can add a more dramatic impact to your image. Post processing, contrast and monochrome tones can further enhance the impact.
Don’t be afraid to create a fantasy scene, nature can provide the ideal setting to let your imagination run wild.
At times nature can bring on such a sensation of pleasure that it just needs to be photographed and immortalized.
The original goal of the portrait challenges, as introduced by Trevor, was to use a different subject at every challenge. This challenge is as much a great opportunity for a self portrait as it is a great family activity in the great outdoors.
Collapsible reflectors and diffusers are a great tool as well as a polarized filter. If you can get your subject to stay absolutely still by running water, a VND or ND filter can create some amazing effects.
As usual, I always recommend a tripod. It allows you to take your time, think and experiment.
When outdoors please take great care, nature can have a few surprises waiting for you. Educate yourself on plants, insects and animals that can harm you or at times kill you. Don’t rely on what you once knew, nature is changing and adapting to changing climate. Plants like Giant Hogweed can now be found in places you’d least expect. Insecticides based on essential oils such as lemon eucalyptus can protect you from ticks and mosquitos and are less harmful than DEET based products for humans and their pet companions.
Coming this October, a month long PhotoChallenge for Halloween!
The rules are pretty simple:
- Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+, Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge.org or #photochallenge2016.
- The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
- The posted image should be a photograph, not a video.
- Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2016 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.
Featured image by Rebecca Krebs – Fabiola – CC – https://www.flickr.com/photos/missturner/17102516750/