best advantage and to think highly of them. A beautiful woman knows she is beautiful and in a picture
she wants to appear beautiful--so make her beautiful. A slight flattering may be called for, but not over
flattery. Men know their features; they know whether they appear dignified; they know if they appear to
have great strength of character; and they are right in expecting the photographer to emphasize these
good points. The subject expects a true portrait--a good expression and natural pose, a portrait that
shows whatever beauty or strength she or he has, and one that shows his or her character and features.
Character is formed by life. A frown or a smile today leaves no trace, but continued use of facial
muscles to form a smile, a laugh, or a frown leaves lines on the forehead, around the eyes, nose, and
mouth. And it is these lines and expressions that form facial character. Lines of character are scars won
in our battle of life, and as such, must be carefully considered by the portrait photographer. They can be
subdued or exaggerated by the way you light your subject. Exaggeration is what most of your subjects
will not like; however, you should not eliminate character lines either, rather only soften them with
lighting. A face has features: two eyes, a nose, a mouth, and two ears, but photographically these
features are not equally important. To the portrait photographer, the most important and most expressive
are the eyes.
The face is constantly moving, the expression changing, lasting only momentarily. No happy expression
or frown lasts long enough for us to take full notice of it--until we photograph it. And if you picture it at
the wrong instant, it is captured to be looked at, and all the bad points appear exaggerated.
To be a good portrait photographer, you must learn to study each face as it appears before the camera
and light it to accurately represent the natural features and character. Do not try to capture that fleeting
expression. It is an expression of only one moment out of one hour of one day of a lifetime. It is not the
expression which shows that person's character nor is it the one by which he is known. What you want
is that person's natural expression which is a composite of many fleeting ones. A softness of expression
is best: neither too sharp or too faint; not too happy or too gloomy.
PART A - TYPES OF PORTRAITS
This part of the lesson describes three types of portraits: identification (ID), formal, and informal. Also,
we will discuss correct placement of the subject within the viewing area of the camera, general posing,
and backgrounds. Appendix B provides sample photographs of the various types of portraits.