Monday, July 5, 2010

5. Eye-contact and expression

Once again, Heidi acted as my willing subject.  For this shoot I chose a very simple setting in the shade of a tree in our back garden.  I simply briefed Heidi to move her head around and adopt a range of expression and angle to or away from the camera.  The camera is my Canon 5D MkII paired with a 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lens.  Each of the following images used the same aperture, f/2.8 and ISO 100, with the shutter speed floating between 1/125s and 1/250s depending on the cloud cover.  I have chosen a very shallow DoF to emphasize the portrait and minimize background distraction.  Overall I am happy with the sequence as a learning experience, however, the very bright background is a little too much.  I could have selected a better environment in which to shoot.

This first image is a very straight onto the camera pose and whilst it works well for a statement of confidence and strength is not very feminine.  When I shoot men this pose works very well.  Asking Heidi to tilt her head a little but still look at the camera created a much softer friendlier image

Sticking with a fairly straight on viewpoint Heidi then tilted her head towards the camera, firstly by a little amount then much more

The two images are barely different, however, they convey very different emotion.  By looking upwards with a downward tilted face Heidi seems to look a little impish, like a naughty child, whereas the forward looking pose is again open and honest.  Perhaps we inherit this view of the posture from how children look down when guilty and yet try to turn their eyes upwards to see what is going on.

In the next image Heidi again faces the camera but her eyes do not engage:

This creates a look of boredom and disengagement - the fact that she is facing the camera implies she needs to be there, but the eyes say that she does not want to be there.  Moving on the next 3 images show different degrees of turning away from the camera:

The final image works best, if only because her eyes are open.  They also look more candid.

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