Wick Communications

Fore, middle and background

In Photography on 27 Aug 2010 at 8:27 am

(The photo you see here was taken by Half Moon Bay Review photographer Lars Howlett. It is a portrait of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Rhodes. Lars was kind enough to talk a little about his technique with portraits like this. – Clay)

Earlier this month, I had an assignment to photograph nuclear weapons historian, journalist and author Richard Rhodes when he suggested the home library as a setting for a portrait. (You can read the story here.) I agreed, but was careful to position him closer to me than the shelves — about two feet from the camera and 10 feet from the books.

Simple portraits can be more compelling when the composition includes a fore, middle and background.

For example, say you want to photograph a family in front of their home. Instead of having them stand on the steps, bring them out onto the sidewalk with the home in the distance. With this technique your subject will have a stronger identity and not get lost or overwhelmed by their environment.

Photographers might want to know that I shot the photo you see here with the exposure set at 1/125 of a second at f/5, ISO 400.

Lars Howlett

  1. Thanks for this tip. Great job.

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