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Talking about portraits, what makes a portrait,

Hi Alex Cummings here again.
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This is a direct quote from the internet so excuse me if some where along the line I may not wholly agree with it  so Quote:-

 "Portrait photography or portraiture in photography is a photograph of a person or group of people that captures the personality of the subject by using effective lighting, backdrops, and poses. A portrait picture might be artistic, or it might be more clinical, as part of Documentary requirement but to me the person should be easily identified in it.  A partial image or even a whole body image where the subject could be anyone is exactly that a figure study, I have seen nude works where the only thing for certain was the sex of the subject was determinable, this is not a portrait it is as stated a figure study.  However I have also seen silhouettes where there was little or no features discernable but one from previous images could work out who was being photographed which I would definitely class as portraits. I have even come across a completion for 'Faceless Portraits'  most of the entries were just figure studies but some could be classed as portraits because they depicted a lifestyle or occupation but to be safe try and include the face".  Call me old fashioned in this respect but changing of meanings is confusing to others so stick to what is acceptable to all.


. twin girl portrait
  Above is an example of a portrait I did of one of twin girls it is not exactly high key but it borders on it since a lot of the facial detail is not obvious, this young woman had an impeccable complexion and it was not done like this to hide any imperfection although this style is often used for that purpose.  If you notice the banner image on this page there are two images treated differently one depicts a light higher key version and the other a darker lower key version, none of which actually qualifies as high or low key photography but borders on it.  I tend to try and make portraits of ladies on the light side

. redheaded girl
 Above the girl with the guitar as you may have noticed lends its self to modification, originally it had a black background and as she was wearing black trousers they almost blended in I did not particularly like the slight sign of them so in later versions I made them disappear then I made a lighter version with a sky background but during the course of time I came up with this one.

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Abobe this young lady I photographed over the years from a school girl to a finalist in the Miss SA competition

. lamp
Above a full length portrait, yes they can be full length, of a young lady with a prop lamp post and artificial lighting and background added. Portraits can include more than one person such as a family group. a few club or team members or work environment etc.  What I do not like to see is a person surrounded by others who have no obvious relationship to the main subject and then calling it a portrait to me that is simply a group.

  toinette spirit alex cummings

A portrait with a difference keeping up with contemporary photography this one has surround and or background details too

  felicity alex cummings

Above "Felicity on Canvas" young lady on a canvas baking

  felicity alex cummings

Above "Felicity thru a veil" the same picture as before but with a whimsical overlay and if you look at the signature you will see that I flipped it horizontally, these changes make it look entirely different.

feathers by alex cummings

Above Two girls wearing feathers in different ways


  spirit-of-nature by alex cummings

Above an abstract creation. using photographs of flowers to surround the models face,  anyone who knew the young lady would be able to identify her immediately therefore it could be classed as a portrait although I made it originally more to display my ability to make collages.


Below a nice simple portrait of a young girl with soft focus for effect

  Toinette by alex cummings

Below is the surreal version of what was a pleasant portrait

beauty and the beast


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this too is the young lady surrounded by a collage of flowerscollage perhaps a little more visible so more of a portrait than the one above.
When doing this type of multiple image it is important to select the two or more images carefully so as not to overpower the intended subject. 




Madam B by A K Cummings

Above a study of a theatrical performer in the production of Madam B I deliberately gave this image a soft look and added a whimsical look to it


lady and succulents by A K Cummings


Above succulent  from my garden used as a backdrop, sunrays, images are from three photographs used including a portrait, some images are very recent the other from several years ago all merged together and colour changed to give an ethereal look



   teenage girl first girl

Above sometimes you may decide to adjust the image one way or another like this


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This portrait of the lady looking in a mirror is an improvement on the original in respect of eeriness but there is an even newer one on photo-art. and the portrait of the elderly lady with a straw hat is slightly manipulated.


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The above image is what I was saying about including items in the portrait giving some clue as to the persons activity, notice the colour photographs behind him


I have talked about different lighting for portraits and to emphasise it I have included this animation to let you see the difference exposure can make to an image, I will leave it to you to decide on which one of three you prefer I know which one I like. twins


To see more manipulated images or try the menu at the side or select your choice of subject.




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