Recipe by Betty Cooper


Portraits can be either Studio or Environmental, an Individual or Group of people. They not only show the physical features of an individual or group but they tell you something about the personality. They create an impression.



  • Background is very “minimalistic” – not taking away from subject
  • Lighting is such that contours of the face will be shown
    • Avoid straight on lighting of person
    • 45 Degree light direction will work best
    • Make sure that hair stands out from background and does not disappear into background
  • Can be entire body, waist up or head and shoulders



  • Usually outdoors with surroundings helping to fill in information about the subject. Eg A Farmer in a field, or by old barn or tractor etc.
  • Depth of field important here as you want the subject to attract the most attention
    • Work in the 2.8f to 5.6f range. The eyes must be absolutely in focus.
  • Lighting is still just as important
  • Subject must NOT be in the middle of the frame. Think of rules of composition.

Portrait can be color, black & white or sepia. Avoid a large number of different colors within the image. This becomes distracting. Selective burning in of the image with the brightest area on subject helps to focus attention on person.

A portrait is not “candid”. It gives the feeling of planning and attention to detail.


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