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Photography Questions? Ask IADT-Tampa's Instructors

March 29, 2011 IADT General, IADT Tampa 0 Comments

This week, we’re launching a regular feature on our blog: an “Ask the Instructors” Q&A hosted by the Professional Photography staff at IADT-Tampa. We’ll be taking questions from students, prospective students, alumni and anyone else interested in the topic of photography. (Submit questions in the comments below, via Twitter posts to @IADTschools or on IADT's Facebook Page.)

Our inaugural question goes to Professional Photography Department Chair Paul Pelak:

Q. I am just getting started and I want to do a great headshot of my girlfriend; can you give me some tips?

A. “Golden hour” lighting is one sure way to get great light on your subject, so capture the image about one hour before sunset when the sun is low on the horizon and going right into your subject’s face - it creates a warm glow and dilates the pupils nicely.

Use the longest lens or lens setting you have; the long lens compresses the face and reduces the size of the subject’s nose rather than distort it and make it larger.

Set the aperture on that lens wide open (to its lowest-number f/stop) so the background is out of focus and the attention is on your subject’s features. Make sure to set the ISO and shutter speed properly;  remember that the slowest shutter speed should be 2X the length of your lens to prevent camera shake (i.e., if you are shooting with a 100mm lens, your slowest shutter speed should be 1/200th of a second).

If you are looking for a pleasant smile, have them say “yes” repeatedly; if you want something a bit sexier, have them say vowels (i…e…o…u gives the mouth animation and is a lot easier than saying “look sexy”). I hope this helps!

Photo of Paul Pelak Paul Pelak has been the Professional Photography Department Chair at IADT-Tampa since 2002. He's also owner/photographer/director at his own studio, Pelak Studios, which he’s operated in Tampa since 1984.


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