Light em' up!
"Fans of pop culture
know Jerry Avenaim for his revealing, off-beat portraits of celebrities
and beautiful people (from Angela Bassett in ‘milkshake’
makeup to Robert Blake in the buff), but among photography students
and professional shooters, Avenaim is equally famous for his willingness
to share the psychological and technical skills that have made him a
Simon Cowell © Jerry Avenaim All Rights Reserved
2) Find a common ground, interests that you share with your subject. This will help to put them more at ease with you.
Ben Stiller © Jerry Avenaim All Rights Reserved
3) Remember to engage and direct your subject. I'll often say something offbeat just to get a reaction, while my finger is trained on the shutter ready to get the shot.
Luke Wilson © Jerry Avenaim All Rights Reserved
4) I never filter the lens, always the light. Your lens is going to be as good as the last piece of glass in front of it.
Charlton Heston © Jerry Avenaim All Rights Reserved
5) No matter what the composition I always keep the eyes in the upper third of the frame, it's naturally where we're drawn.
Amber Tamblyn © Jerry Avenaim All Rights Reserved
6) Because we see celebrities as larger than life figures, I use a long lens for compression and place the camera angle at about the subject's chest level, this way I'm shooting up at them, fulfilling the viewer's perception.
Chris Evans © Jerry Avenaim All Rights Reserved
7) You can create beautiful lighting situations anywhere quite inexpensively. For outdoor beauty I'll often use a $5 white beach umbrella to diffuse the light on the face. This creates an even and omni-directional light.
Jodi Lyn O'Keef © Jerry Avenaim All Rights Reserved
8) Another way to get a great beauty light on your subject is by "bending light." Place your subject in an open shade area by using a garage, carport or overhang. This also creates a beautiful, even light on the face.
Patricia Arquette © Jerry Avenaim All Rights Reserved
9) When using flash
indoors or out, expose your subject with the aperture and your background
with your shutter speed. This will equally balance the mixture of light.
Nobody seems to be able to get that unless they have a picture to put
together with it. It has nothing to do with depth of field. It’s
finding the balance and equality between existing light and strobe light.
You can control your strobe light but you can’t control your existing
light. So if I’m outside at high noon, I need a fast shutter speed.
Or if I’m inside, I’m going to do what’s called dragging
the shutter to allow the ambient light in the room to match the output
of the strobe.
Malcolm in the Middle © Jerry Avenaim All Rights Reserved
10) Learn the rules of photography and then know how to break them, creativity comes from thinking outside the box.
Carrie Otis © Jerry Avenaim All Rights Reserved
11) No matter what
your proficiency, if you are an amateur or professional, remember to
have fun, and you will always take great pictures. The biggest
piece of advice I give is to get out and experiment.