Ayer Photography of Vermont - Wedding, Portrait, Event

Portrait Design
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Designing A Successful Portrait   
Our goal is to create portraiture as individual as the subjects we photograph.  Our tools include various styles, techniques, and settings that make each portrait a unique work of art. 
Giving life to your personal art work begins with a planning session, during which you and the photographer can explore your ideas and discuss creative possibilities. 
One important consideration is where the finished work of art will be displayed.  When it is planned to decorate your home or office, it will serve as both a tasteful reflection of your individualized decorating style and a tribute to the ones you love.  A well designed portrait, when it is properly sized (not too large and not too small), creates a decorative focal point that can add both drama and personality to any room in your home.      
The clothing you choose is also very important to your portrait's success.  In general, portraits are best when the viewer's eye is drawn to your face.  Proper clothing allows the face to dominate the portrait, with all other elements being secondary, rather than the other way around.  Informal portraits invite much more variety in clothing, color, and style.  Many of our personal favorites are portraits that exude personality and tell us something about the subject.  The guidelines below will help you to make important decisions about the clothing and style of your artwork.     

Tips On Preparing For Your Portraits

  • Whether working with light or dark complexions, the objective always is for the face to dominate the portrait.  Accordingly, it is usually best if skin highlights are the lightest, brightest, or most intense areas of the portrait. So, for example, when a medium to dark background is used, all subjects photograph best in medium to dark tones, whatever the skin tone.
  • Turtle necks or V-necks are flattering provided that neither is exaggerated in style.  Avoid very wide or particularly deep V-neck garments or bulky cowlneck sweaters that completely hide the neck.    
  • For close-up portraits, long sleeves are essential for teens and adults, as bare arms call attention to themselves and will overpower the face.   
  • Women being photographed in full length should wear long skirts, pants, or dark stockins in order to keep the eye from being directed toward the legs and away from the face.   
  • If feet are to show in the portrait, assure that shoes and stockings are in keeping with the visual intent of the portrait.   
  • Men should be clean shaven or facial hair should be carefully groomed, with the hair cut about one week before the portrait session.  Women should be photographed whenever they are happiest with their hair in relation to the time it is styled.    

Clothing For Individuals   

The goal of any fine portrait is to direct the viewer's eye to the face(s) in the portrait.  All other elements should be secondary.  For individuals, simple long-sleeved garments in medium to dark tones of brown, gray, burgandy, green, or blue are pleasing when photographed against a medium or dark background. 
  • Because darker clothing is slimming, it is often a good choice for close-up, full-length or three-quarter length portraits in which a medium to dark background is used.
  • Bold stripes, plaids, checks, and prints are visually confusing and do not usually photography well.  
  • Bright colors, such as pink and orange, will tend to overwhelm the face and can ruin an otherwise beautiful portrait.   
  • Light colors that approximate flesh tones or are lighter than flesh tend to overpower the face and can visually drain the face of color making the subject look unusually pale.    

Clothing For Small Groups    

Couples or small groups should choose simple garments within the same tonal range.  When subjects appear in a mixture of light and dark tones together, there is visual confusion - as the light color tends to come forward, and the dark colors recede.  When this happens, one person becomes dominant and can even appear heavier than in reality.   

Clothing For Families   

In a family group, proper clothing coordination is critical.  When decorating a home, a major concern is to coordinate the colors and tones of the walls, carpets, drapes and furniture.  Similar coordination is necessary when selecting clothing for a group portrait.  Choose clothing in the same tonal range so that no single member of the family stands out because the clothing is too light or bright as compared to the rest of the group. 
Proper clothing selection makes the difference between a portrait that appears to be a group of seemingly unrelated individuals and one in which every member of the family "belongs" to the group.   

Portrait Backgrounds    

Vermont offers a great many picturesque settings that work well for creative portraiture.  The primary consideration in most cases when this is the plan is the weather and time of year.  
For studio portraits, we offer a sample of possible background tones to facilitate your planning process and clothing coordination.    

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Ayer Photography, 85 Midnight Pass, Colchester, VT 05446 USA     (802) 338-9193     Info@AyerPhoto.com 
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