Final tips from our professional photographer
Talk to your sitter about what you’re trying to achieve, and show them the results. They’ll be more cooperative that way
Focus of attention
Luke learned how to set up his camera so that he could quickly adjust the AF point to ensure the model’s eyes were always sharp
Time for a close-up
For more arty portraits, make sure your model looks into the distance or down at the ground rather than directly at your lens all the time
A stepladder is a great tool for portraiture – it provides you with more camera angles and gets you above your sitter for an aerial view
Luke reviews the spotlit effect that the large ‘beauty dish’ reflector behind him had on his shot
Calculating focal length and height
John had been taking care to drum home the role of each light, and the importance of camera height and focal length, making Luke shoot different variations so that he had a record of what worked and what didn’t. By the time Luke took this head-and-shoulders portrait (above) he was using two lights. John’s 6ft-long striplight was to the left of the camera, provided the main light and creating long catchlights in her eyes. Low on the ground behind the model was a second flash head, which added some backlight, forming a halo-like glow around her hair.
Changing lenses safely
John’s large studio meant it was easy to switch from close-up to full-length shots, and Luke learned to go back to his basic 18-55mm lens in order to fit the whole of a person’s figure in the frame. John suggested that as Luke swapped zoom lenses – always tip your camera slightly down as you change lenses. It can be expensive to get your sensor cleaned, he explained, so this really simple precaution minimises the chance of any damage.