Forget Mugshots: 10 Steps to Better Portraiture
David duChemin is back with another fantastic Craft & Vision eBook, this time focussing on portraiture. David is one of my favorite authors, and portraits are one of my main focuses in photography, so I was very excited when I was told about the pending release of this eBook. Before I jump into my review, I'll just say Forget Mugshots: 10 Steps to Better Portraits did not disappoint. It is a great read and perhaps one of David DuChemins best pieces of writing. Best of all, it is available for $4 using the discount code and link towards the bottom of this page.
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David first talks a bit about Yousuf Karsh and the influence he had on Davids own work, which may be evident to you if you are an avid Karsh fan like myself. David goes on to talk about how a portrait is a combination of two revelations: one about the subject, one about the photographer. This is not an eBook just about posing or selecting a background, though it does mention both of those. This is an eBook about creating more powerful portraits. Through the course of this book David simply tells you what he thinks contributes to a good portrait. His goal is to give you the tools to create amazing portraits that reflect upon you, not portraits that reflect upon Davids own style or tendencies. This is exactly the way it should be, and David has created a great resource here for improving YOUR photos. Further discussion includes how a great portrait is based upon the viewer forming an emotional connection with the subject. It isn't based upon the image being shot with an 85mm lens at f1.2 I might add.
As he often does, David includes creative exercises to help you practice what he is teaching. And for those of you who still love gear talk, like myself, David does include a brief section on selecting lenses for portraiture. This is not a go buy this lens type of thing, it is on a more conceptual level than that. It is geared towards choosing the lens for the portrait you want. Like much his writing, this section is a call of thought and reflection, not a call for new gear. David goes on to discuss things like capturing portraits in more than one frame, understanding smiles, and the importance of eyes in a photograph. That last one may sound obvious, but a lot of work I see is flawed from the subjects eyes. Admittedly, I myself am occasionally guilty of neglecting the incredible potential found in a subjects eyes. Towards the end of the eBook David talks about lighting portraits; though the most gear he tends to use is a reflector. This is not a book about lighting portraiture. Those already exist, both at Craft & Vision and elsewhere. This is an eBook about portraiture on a deeper level.
If portraits are part of your photography, you should read this eBook. Whether you are a seasoned pro or an aspiring amateur, I am confident that there is something in here for you.
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Posted in Photograph Post Date 05/08/2017