Intimate Portraits From Afar #2 – Black and White Photography From The Ethiopian Outback
by John Downey
For this second post in a short series, I chose these three simple portraits of Afar siblings who posed for us at our campsite. I chose these (and more that will follow) because of an arresting gaze or, in the case of the second image, a nice profile portrait.
A quick note about backlighting and camera position. I like backlit portraits because you can achieve a blown-out white background in midday sun while retaining nice middle and dark tones for faces. Most modern cameras will do a decent job in auto mode and correct for backlighting if you’re not into using manual settings. Assuming a low camera position relative to your subject is especially important when photographing children. First, our normal perspective is looking down at kids, so if you really want a portrait of a kid with impact, get to their eye level or lower. Second, it eases tension between you and the little person you’re trying to photograph. Cedes enough control for them to really feel comfortable and the lens doesn’t look so intimidating (this works with adults too). Try it with your kids – you’ll appreciate the perspective and they’ll appreciate you getting down to their level. Hope you enjoy this short series. Tomorrow, I’ll post a couple images, pushing the contrast up a notch.