IMG 1923 Taking Scrapbook Portraits

Let’s face it, taking photographs for inclusion in a scrapbook generally come from the regular snapshots we take a parties, gatherings and candid snaps as they occur.  There are times, however, when you want to have a really good picture of an individual that we might consider portrait quality.  Here are some tips to help you shoot some winning photographs you might consider a step above the regular shots you take at a birthday party.  These tips on lighting, backgrounds, and other important elements will help you take those special pictures.  Your photographs will help tell the story you want them to tell.

IMG 1925 300x225 Taking Scrapbook Portraits

Have A Plan Of What You Want To Capture Before You Start

Know what you want to accomplish before you drag you camera out to begin taking your photos.  Ask yourself, what is the story I want to tell with these photographs–or this single snapshot.  This may give you ideas of how to have your subject dress, determine what props, if any, you think will help you tell your story.  You may have to try a couple different props, including familiar toys or objects which help identify who the subject is, and clothing outfits,  to see what works best to bring the beauty and identity of your subject.  Change them to find the one you feel works best for you project.  This extra effort can enhance your images and make them truly reflective of your subject person.

Use A Draped Background

IMG 8923 Taking Scrapbook Portraits

A simple background set 3′ to 4′ behind your subject can help enhance your pictures.  You’re looking to create a photograph of your subject with the backdrop or background to make your subject the focus of your photo.  Use some plain cloth you may have around the house: sheets in various colors, blankets, tablecloths and large sheets of colored paper.  Use props available to you to help create some visual interest: a large easy chair, a sofa (you can drape your background between two chairs and shoot between them–or tack the backdrop material to a wall or in a doorway).  Outdoors you could use a child’s swing set to drape you cloth over, or a low hanging tree limb.

Use Natural Light As Much As Possible

DSCN1806 Taking Scrapbook Portraits

Where possible, use natural light from windows, porches, garage entries, doorways or other areas where there is a sufficient splash of light.  North facing areas are a great natural light source that isn’t overly harsh.  Natural light creates wonderful highlights and special effects on faces.   The changing season also cast light that can provide exceptional differences in shadows and in skin tones on your subjects.   Eliminating the use of your flash can also craft some interesting and useful affects.

Have Your Subject Pose For Pictures

DSCN3892 Taking Scrapbook Portraits

Some of your photo subjects will be “hams” and pose naturally, while others may need to be coached into the position or pose you’d like to photograph.  Simple and casual poses work well in general.  You should be willing to try some other poses–even silly ones to draw-out your subject’s personality.  This is a time and place in your shoot where you can have some fun.

DSCN3678 Taking Scrapbook Portraits

Don’t Be Afraid Of Close-ups

DSCN1456 Taking Scrapbook Portraits

Close-up are the cream in your shoots.  They may show feature flaws, but that is who they are.  Try to fill the frame with as much of the focus you wish to capture: face, eyes, hands, etc.  Close-ups give you the opportunity to capture the strongest features of your subjects.  This is another time when taking snaps of various features would be helpful, and then select the ones that tell your story.

Take Plenty of Pictures

Whether you use a digital or film camera be sure to take plenty of shots while you have your subject, background and light.  Try shooting different angels, poses, light sources (time of day for natural light), distances, and color (black and white or color).  Don’t be in a hurry.  Mother Nature didn’t create her masterpieces in a day, so don’t you try.  As you take your pictures you’ll grow in confidence and ability. . . mistakes afford you the opportunity to learn and grow in your skill.

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Ron on April 26th, 2010 | File Under Basics, Ideas, Scrapbooking | No Comments -