The Art of Photographing People

Trevor's picture

This week we are talking about people. Human nature is to be interested in others, hence the popularity of Facebook, magazines such as Hello and OK, television soaps and so on. Sit in a café and watch others all around you gazing, talking, eating, drinking, smoking, whatever. They're all doing something! And behind the face of each and every one there is a story, good or bad, happy or sad. And it's the mood and personality that is reflected in the face.

Whilst most would agree that the face is the most interesting because it's the most expressive part of the body, hands also convey expression, emotion and reaction. They add to the animation of the subject and can form an important part of a portrait, so include them where appropriate. More often than not you are going to want to hold your camera in the portrait mode, in other words rotated 90º from the horizontal (or landscape) mode - after all, we are taller than wide, so it makes sense to hold the camera appropriately. But it is still surprising how many people never think of doing this!

I took this photograph in Camden Market in about 1986. For those who have never been, Camden is a mega tourist-trap with lots of small shops selling everything from vintage clothing to modern day living. I happened to notice a colourful rack of shoes that I suppose were from Portugal or China, but what I really saw was the guy who was selling them. His clothes really seemed to go with what he was selling, so I asked if I could take a picture and here's the result. Less than five seconds of photography gained me a Merit in the 1988 Olympus International Salon and publication in a prestigious magazine, so if I can do it why can't you? Good luck.

Trevor is a professional fashion photographer and is writing a series of guest blogs with tips on how you can take better photos. Click here to see the rest of his posts. 

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