We’ve all received a bunch of tips and heard lots of facts or “facts” since we first picked up photography. Some of them are amazing, others are okay, and yet others are complete BS. In this video, Miguel Quiles teams up with Manny Ortiz to bring you five portrait photography facts that they think are the worst you can hear. Let’s see if you agree and if you’ve heard them, too.
1. Skin smoothening
One of the biggest myths is that you’ll achieve perfect skin by applying smoothening techniques in Photoshop. The reality is that there’s much more to achieving it. Your model needs to have decent skin to begin with. Then, their makeup has to be on point to hide blemishes and small “imperfections.” It’s up to you then to set the lighting to be flattering to their skin and make it look even nicer. The editing should be all about clearing up tiny “imperfections” here and there, not making the entire skin surface smooth, often to the point it starts to look unrealistic.
2. It’s not your job to set your model at ease
For this one, Miguel and Manny refer to an ad for Annie Leibovitz’s Masterclass. In the ad, she says that it’s not the photographer’s job to set the subject at ease. Now, Annie clearly knows what she’s doing considering her success and how pretty her photos are (although some would disagree). But I think we should put our subjects at ease.
As a portrait photographer, you want your model to feel safe and relaxed in front of your camera. This way, both of you will enjoy the collaboration and you’ll end up with nicer and more natural photos. Both Miguel and Manny believe this and always try to do it, and all I can say is that I completely agree with this approach.
3. You have to know how to use flash
I’ve heard this one pretty often myself. While I know how to use a flash, I don’t think I have to (at least not for what I do). Manny and Miguel put it nicely – you have to understand light in the first place and know how to use it. Learning how to use flash is only an extension of this knowledge.
4. Experienced photographers don’t take bad photos
Well, this really is total BS. All of us take bad photos, no matter how experienced we are.
5. You need a UV filter on your lens
We have discussed this a couple of times, and I tend to agree. I mean, I never used a UV filter to protect my lenses. I take good care of them, they’re in mint condition and they’ve all lasted me for years. Plus, if you use a lower quality UV lens, it can lower the image quality.
Bonus: You have to be better than your last photo
This is a bonus “fact” that Manny adds near the end of the video. I’d say it leans onto the fourth point. Once again – we all take bad photos sometimes, no matter how many great ones we’ve taken before. We’re not always on our A-game and we all have bad days.
It’s your turn. Have you heard any of these claims and do you agree with them? What’s the most BS photography tip or claim you’ve heard?
[Top 5 BS Portrait Photography Tips | Miguel Quiles]
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