Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Solution: Person in place, part of 5-Day Photo Challenge: Portraiture.
- Alright, hey. Welcome back. In this movie, I want to talk about my approach to the challenge of photographing a person within an architectural space. This challenge is really difficult. One of the things that I've found in my own photographic life is that this is one of those type of photographs that takes a lot of practice. And it's almost one of those skills that you can practice again and again and again, and you can continuously get better at it. A lot of times what happens is people create images like this on vacation. They go to a beautiful city and they see a wonderful monument.
They ask someone to stand in front of it, and the photograph is kind of lifeless and dull. What you can do is ask the subject to somehow get within the frame or position or compose the image so they feel like they're almost surrounded by this architectural element. And that's what I wanted to try to do with this image. So I had a friend show up to a location. It was a spot that I had been to before. It was this hallway with these beautiful columns and this blue ceiling which I really love. And I wanted the subject to be dead-center. In other words, I thought about the image before I got there. That is so important.
You have to bring a lot of thinking to these type of images in order for everything to be, I don't know, perfectly arranged. You also have to think a lot about your lens choice. With architecture, often you're going to need a wider angle lens, but you don't want to go too wide so the lines are bent, or there's tilting or distortion. So in my case I was using a 24 to 70 or 50 millimeter focal length lens. And both of those focal lengths give you a perspective which is pretty natural. So I wanted to have that. I wanted to make sure my columns were straight. And when I got to the location and started shooting, I tried to position the subject in a couple of different spots.
One of the things I noticed right away is that the area was pretty dark on the upper portion of the image because it was a cloudy day. So I knew that in post I was going to need to brighten that up a little bit. Or that was my guess. I also started to think about how I could just make everything lined up perfectly. So I was paying attention and slowing down. That's really critical. If ever you've worked with an architectural photographer, you know that it's all about the setup. They setup and setup and setup, and then click. And that's an important thing to think about, is to have that patience to really wait for, and to work the image to get to that spot.
Alright. Well, another thing that I was going to do was to shoot, of course, vertically. I wanted to use the hallway, but I knew that there may be a photograph within the photograph. Sometimes that means perhaps cropping the image a different way, or just trying out a little bit of a composition. Last but not least, when you're working with images like this, if they are a failure, don't worry about it. That happens all the time. I can't tell you how many times I've tried to create photographs like this, and they just don't work. What you can do is when they don't work, ask yourself why. Try to analyze, where could you have positioned the person or your camera in order to make a frame which felt more cohesive and whole. Like the photograph...
Like the person fit inside of the frame. So anyway, if you didn't get it right this time, try this one again. This is one of those exercises that you can continually work at. Alright. Also be sure to continue to post your photographs using that hashtag. That one is #5DayPhoto. I love all the images that I'm seeing. Continue to do that. It's really fun to see those pictures. And then of course, come back to the next movie where I'll share with you another challenge which will help you to continue and grow as a people and portrait photographer.
Remember to share your results on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using the hashtag #5DayPhoto.