Exercise 2.1 – Portraits

Brief:- Take a piece of white paper and go out and photograph some plants in this way. Don’t cut or pick the plants; leave them where they are. You’ll probably have to photograph in ‘macro’ mode, often indicated by a tulip icon on your camera. Under-expose a little if you find the white card is causing highlight clipping. When you’ve completed that, do the same with a person’s face. You can use a plain wall, a sheet or a large piece of paper as your background, but be sure to eradicate all environmental detail. You can further enhance this by cropping the photos later if you find a distraction on the edges. You’ve photographed two different subjects in different places, yet all signs of the place have been removed. What do you think that does to the interpretation of the photograph? Do you notice how it emphasises both the shape and the subject as a distinct thing?

I have completed the exercise, but I took the opportunity to photograph the Chinese State Circus and have used portraits from that shoot.


I have not stuck to just the head shot, and I am ok with that. The shape of the subject, the detail of the clothing and muscle structure are more apparent because there is no background. With photo one the lighting is dramatic and adds a dimension of seriousness to her face, and her clothing becomes apparent. The headwear and clothing in the second image make this photo. The face is soft which adds to the delicacy of the photo. I like the concentration, and the ripples of the mans judo suit in photo 6. Even though there is some environmental detail retained at the bottomof the photo, I don’t find it to be a distraction.

I havent completed the brief to the letter. I used the ad hoc opportunity to make photos and made the most of it. I have produced a mixture of portraits and full length photos, and the results highlight the amount of detail that the camera picks up, and the eye watches, when there is no other details to be distracted by.

I have tried to remove noise in both Lightroom and Photoshop, and I used the Photoshop brush tool, black (000000) to paint away distractions in a couple of photos, and my favourite grad filter, erase brush and exposure to -4.0 in others.

4 Replies to “Exercise 2.1 – Portraits”

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