Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Challenge: Portrait with a prop, part of 5-Day Photo Challenge: Portraiture.
- Welcome to day four of this five day photography challenge where we take a look at how we can use the cameras that we have and we get out on location and use natural and available light in order to create better portraits. Alright, well I think you're going to enjoy this challenge, because this one is all about integrating a prop or an object into the scene. In order to get your creative juices flowing, let me show you just a few of my own photographs where I've tried to do this in the past. Alright, well as you can see, the prop or the object adds another layer to the image, and that's what's interesting. It adds almost another narrative element.
And what I want you to do for your own pictures is I want you to find some sort of an object that you find interesting and ask yourself, "Well how can I integrate that into this portrait?" Now all of these objects you see here, or most of them, were found in thrift stores, so it doesn't need to be something that you go out and buy and is really expensive. Or you might consider borrowing something from someone as well. For example, you could something like this, like these binoculars, which I found at a thrift store for just a few dollars. And one of the advantages of working with props or objects is that it adds that little narrative element.
It also gives your subject something to do. For example, if you ask a friend, "Hey, stand there so I can take your picture," they won't know what to do, but if you say, "You know what, will you hold this giant lightbulb "above your head," they'll probably smile and have some fun with it and you might create an interesting photograph. So your task here is to first find an object or a prop and then to find someone that you want to photograph. Now when you ask that person, "Hey, can I take a portrait of you," what I encourage you to do is to say, "I'm working on this project" or, "I'm taking this online course, "and my teacher's asked me to do this thing "where I wanna photograph a person with an object.
"Could you help?" And often when you ask for help, you get much more buy-in. Now what type of photograph do you want to make? Well I want you to make a photograph where the background almost just becomes a texture. Rather than really identifying what the background is, it becomes a bit more of a blur. In order to capture an image like that, you want to try to shoot with a shallower depth of field if you have a lens which will allow you to do that. If you don't, just make sure that background is really far away. We want to focus in on the subject for this type of picture.
Now as you capture those images, be sure to post those photographs on social media using the hashtag, that one is #5DayPhoto. Good luck shooting, and be sure to come back to the next movie where I'll show you my own approach to this particular challenge. Alright, good luck, and happy shooting.
Remember to share your results on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using the hashtag #5DayPhoto.