Two sure-fire ways of taking an unflattering portrait are to shoot from well above the subject, and to use a wide angle lens. Each will distort the subject’s face in different ways, so do both and you’re certain to end up with a strange look. But like all rules of photography, sometimes these are made to be broken, and when you’re trying to take a different image of your nephew then shooting from above with a wide angle lens produces a fun image.
I wouldn’t try this angle/lens when shooting a headshot obviously, but an 8-year-old can tolerate a bit of distortion, and Matthew certainly got a giggle out of this photograph, taken a few years back on his communion day.
This was actually the very first photograph I entered into competition in Dublin Camera Club last September and I’m not sure the judge at the time liked it very much, although she did say it was “a fun shot”, which was kinda the idea, so at least that was something. I’ve learnt since that the best you can hope for with photography judges is to please some of them some of the time.
For me what I like about this photo (apart from the fact that I think it captured Matthew’s personality quite well), is the clarity of his eyes. I focused on his left eye, and even though this shot was taken with the kit lens on my old Nikon D50, there is surprising sharpness in the image.
Through twitter, which I’ve recently joined, I discovered a website called Photo Friday, which each Friday sets a theme and over the following week photographers can enter photographs that suit that theme, and view and rate other photographers’ entries. It’s a nice idea for some inspiration for things to photograph in the week ahead, or an excuse to display an image from the archives to another audience. I decided this week to give it a go, so you will find this particular image entered into the mix this week to correspond to the theme of “Eyes”.
Incidentally, speaking of twitter, over on my page there I’ve been running a little competition to win a framed print. Entries close on Monday at noon, so if you haven’t entered already you can do so now. And if you’re already on twitter, you can follow me there too. I link to all my blog posts daily and other nuggets of information that I come across that you might find useful.