There are essentially fours ‘types’ of portrait photos…
- tight (head shots)
- medium (waist up or a tad wider, but ultimately just you)
- wide (you – with some interesting back ground), and
- LIVE SHOW/ACTION (which the photographer usually has little to no control over the lighting, what the artist is doing or how they are positioned, or what obstacles are in the way).
I can’t say this enough… TIGHT MEANS EYE BALLS! IRIS’ and LIPS/JAW LINE. ALWAYS THE EYES… they should be sharp, in focus, and as clear and well lit as possible. The eye color should pop, sparkle, and be as bright as possible. The eyes should capture the attention of the viewer, and whether looking at you – or away – then should display WHO YOU ARE, and some expression.
Medium is still about the EYES, but add in the shoulders and upper body.
Wide brings the tummy, hands, and legs into play… but it is still ALL ABOUT THE EYES & FACE if they are in the frame! Though the iris’ don’t have to necessarily be seen, the eyes still should look like they ARE THERE!
LIVE SHOW/ACTION… often don’t allow a flash or any special lighting or reflectors, or tripod, and one must hope the stage lighting is reasonable, the photog is patient, and camera setting are correct (and in manual mode). It’s common that it’s the ‘scene’ – not always the eyes, though they should still be a goal.
Maybe I’m weird, strange, or some overzealous OCD perfectionist type on some aspects (and not enough on others)… but it bugs me when I see ‘head shots’ that are ‘staged’ and ‘posed’ in a controlled setting that leaves the eyes bland, dark, shadowed, and doesn’t make those IRIS’s pop out of the image when ever possible. Far too many are accepting less than great images. WHY? Anyone have any ideas??
How do I get through to the musicians, models, and those actually in front of a camera to expect posed photography in controlled settings to BE PERFECT, or at least 98% perfect, and focused ON THE EYES if the image is a tight or medium shot??
Accept ‘better then nothing’ with LIVE SHOWS, LIVE videos, with SITUATIONS the photographer isn’t in control of the lighting or angles… EXPECT PERFECTION otherwise! In fact, if you are paying for it, DEMAND IT!
Granted, people need to learn… and I’m all for teaching, practicing, learning new things, techniques, and equipment… but really, if they aren’t damn close to perfect, right, and meeting your reasonable expectations ARE THEY WORTH PAYING (or showing others)?!?!