Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Week of Storytelling: Day 5 – Shoot Set-up Portraits

Photograph © Rick Sammon. All rights reserved.
Canon 5D Mark II. Canon 24-105mm lens.

It’s Day 5 of Storytelling Week here on my blog. Each day, I’ll share a photography tip illustrated with one of my favorite photographs that I took this past April at the Sister’s Meal Festival in the province of Guizhou in southwest China.

The idea of this weeklong project: When you go to an event, on the other side of the world or the other side of town, try to “tell the whole story” with your pictures.

Today’s tip: Shoot set-up portraits.

Sure, you want to take candid photographs, such as the picture in yesterday’s post. However, it’s also a good idea to take set-up portraits – for two reasons: one, you have more control over the subject, the light and the background; two, participants at the event usually want a nice portrait of themselves.

When shooting portraits, use a wide f-stop to blur or slightly blur the background, which makes the subject “stand out” in the photograph. Be sure to focus on the eyes. And, use a flash, a diffuser or a reflector (if needed) to illuminate the subject’s face. I never leave home without my flash and reflector/diffuser kit.

Want more travel photo info? My current app, 24/7 Photo Buffet, offers dozens of photo tips for photographers on the go – even HDR photographers.

Explore the light,

P.S. Shoot me an email if you are interested in joining my 2011 China workshops. I will have some guest pros leading some workshops, too. Email me: Rick Sammon at

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