21.07.2014

Taking a photo portrait of a street artisan (or not), 3 common errors and how to avoid them!

21.07.2014

Taking a photo portrait of a street artisan (or not), 3 common errors and how to avoid them!

Take the photo portrait of a street artisan

Since the beginning of the month on Manfrotto Imagine More, we have discussed the conditions for taking a photo portrait of a gentleman (here) or perhaps the photo portrait of a lady (there) during my walks through the streets of Hanoi (during my lunch break).

It’s all well and good to talk about street photography and show you my street photo portraits (which remind me of such wonderful memories that are so dear to me) but you know what would be so very much better?
It’s for you to use these tips distilled into Manfrotto Imagine More, so you can take off too and take your first photo portraits!

I can imagine that it’s not always easy to approach the first person who passes by you on a street in your city and take his or her picture. That’s why I suggest you try a simpler exercise today: a tutorial on taking artisan portraits!

Find your “artisan” model

Of course, you get it: you could photograph your favorite florist, shoemaker, newspaper salesman, or even a baker.
Step into the closest pedestrian lane and ask an artisan there if he or she is willing to pose for a photo portrait.
If you are a good customer and you simply explain that you have an “assignment” to complete for your photo club, I am sure your butcher or cheese shop attendant will be willing to volunteer for the task.

So a caterer or vegetable dealer said yes? Wonderful! Now is the time to take the portrait photo of the artisan.
And to make sure your portrait is a success, here are 3 common errors not to commit and the solutions to avoid them.

Error n°1: Forgetting to put your subject in his or her context

Are you taking the portrait photo of your fishmonger? Then, you’ll need to include elements in the background that indicate to your viewer that this is indeed a fishmonger and not a tailor.
To do this successfully, here is the solution:

  • divide (in your own head) the framing of your photo into two parts
  • place your artisan in one of the corners of your shot (from right to left, depending on your preference or the spot where the light is best)
  • on the opposite side, add the elements that provide specific information on the work performed by your artisan (to illustrate this first tip, I’ll take you early in the morning to Hoi An, Vietnam, after the fishermen return)

Take the photo portrait of an artisan in the street

Take the photo portrait of a street artisan

Error n°2: Incorrectly framing the shot

You’re stressed out since it’s the first time you’ve tried to do a thing like this. There are lots of people in the shop, and you don’t want to waste your subject’s time…?
These are all factors that can lead to incorrectly framing your shot and taking it too fast.

To take a great shot even in a stressful situation, here is a detail that will make all the difference: pay attention to the horizontal lines of your photo and be sure that these lines are truly parallel to the 2 horizontal lines of your photo’s frame (to explain this point, I’ll use a worker of the Red Fort in Rajastan, India, who is posing for you).

Take the photo portrait of a street artisan

Take the photo portrait of a street artisan

Error n°3: Not getting close enough

One of the classic errors committed in portrait photography (whether or not you’re just starting out), is not moving in close enough to your subject.

To the contrary, one of my favorite little tips is to get in as close as I can to my subject, and it makes all the difference!

This means that you want to find the perfect balance between “including all the elements necessary for the shot” and “getting as close up to your subject as you can.”

The result?
When they look at your photo, your viewers will have the impression that “they are themselves in your subject’s shop”, as if they merely need to reach out to touch the artisan (do you have the feeling that you are very, very close to this farmer in the Vietnamese Red River Delta countryside?).

Take the photo portrait of a street artisan

There you have it. This photo tutorial on “3 errors to avoid when taking the portrait of an artisan” is coming to an end.
Have these tips been useful for you? Did you already know them?
Who will be first to post his or her artisan portrait photograph in the comments section?
We’re waiting for your feedback (and your comments)!

Maïeva Voyage

Maïeva Voyage is a passionate photographer who discovered photography completely by chance 5 years ago when someone gave her a camera, and it changed her life: it was a reflex camera. It was especially in Vietnam at the Photo Club of Hanoi that she developed her photographic technique.
For more than 2 years, she has been sharing her photo tips on Photo-tuto.fr, a feminine blog with fun and relaxed photo tutorials.

You’ll find Maïeva Voyage on her Photo-tuto.fr blog, but also at https://www.twitter.com/Photo_tuto_fr and at https://www.facebook.com/Blog.Photo.Tuto.Fr 
Maïeva Voyage is our guest contributor for the month of July, 2014.

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