3rd Summative Blog (3S)

Hello!! Welcome to my Portrait Portfolio =)

For the 3rd Summative, our assignment was to take 5 portraits of the people around us. The purpose of this task is to get the right lighting, experiment with different angles and backgrounds, and tell a story. It’s harder than it sounds!

In this art project, I tried to take as many portraits of people as possible so that I could get a variety of faces to display. I would also either take a picture of someone who is doing something specific, or I would tell my subjects to pose in a way that appeals to me. This resulted in a variety of stories, and many different perspectives in background. I also looked at many examples of portraits on the internet and from Mr Stavinoha’s slide show to help me think of ideas and different ways to display my work.

I found this topic quite challenging. My first obstacle was that I couldn’t get a lot of people to pose for me. Most people I asked did not want to participate. I found this difficult because this was the most important aspect, I mean, if you don’t have a person in a picture, it cannot be a portrait. So I decided to take my camera even more often to school so that whoever I found I would ask to take their photo. This helped a lot, I got pictures of Yasmina and Ms Amy, which I’ve used in my final. I also got photos of others as well, like the Subway staff, some juniors in the playground, and my friend Hanna. Though, I didn’t get the photos quite right and so could not use them in my final.

Another challenge was to get the lighting, angles, and the person’s expressions to all fit in together. It was hardest to find the right place to take a portrait of someone. However, as I began to take more photos of people, I became better at this aspect. I learnt that I should never take a photo of someone with a window behind them due to how gloomy and dull the picture becomes. I also learnt that a great photographer always takes a horizontal and vertical photo of everything, so that they can see which one looks better in that certain moment. The moral of this is, never just take one photo, take 5, 10, 20, or even more, because surely on of those 20 will turn to be exactly what you’re looking for.

Below, I have displayed my 5 final portraits, featuring Dad, Mom, Ms Amy, Yasmina, and me. Following each portrait is a short yet sweet description about it and the process it took to achieve the final result.

Enjoy!! =)



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This portrait was my first success in this portfolio. It has great lighting, is at a relevant angle, and tells a simple but evident story. My dad is a banker, but he deals with more phone calls than a secretary. It was his idea to pose talking on his phone, and I captured this amazing photo because of it. I really like the simplicity of the background, and how there is a diagonal shadow behind his head. I’m also really glad my dad was in focus, all the outlines of his blazer and tie are very sharp. I used Photographic Toning as the gradient for this portrait because the “olden day” filter made it look very realistic and gave it a different view.


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This portrait was my second last success, but it turned out great as you can see above. There is calm sunlight coming on my mom’s face, making her facial features soft yet still obvious. The angle is quite interesting, my mom turned her head in my direction so I could take the photo. The background is also very soft so it makes the overall portrait very cool without even using a cool gradient. I used the Curves icon to make certain areas in the photo look duller, I did this to the background. By doing this, I also discovered it made the background look a little blurry, you can’t make out specific details on the houses. This is great because now when someone looks at this portrait, all their focus is on my mom first, then they will look at the background. This means that my whole photo is being viewed and not just one area, which is the definition of a successful photo.

Ms Amy

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This final portrait turned out so much better than its trials (which is the point but still, I am very pleased with the development of this portrait). There is heavy sunlight coming from the window, making the overall photo light up.  The background however, is in shadow slightly which is good because then the main focus is on Ms Amy, which was the purpose. I am very glad I found her doing something, and I’m glad that something was very interesting. I think she was molding up some clay using a clay molder. Overall, the photo tells a story, that Ms Amy really enjoys her job and that she is very passionate about what she does. I used Photographic Toning once again, but a different one to the one I used on my Dad’s portrait. This made my photograph stand out and look more appealing than the original boring old everyday photo. I feel like that is the purpose of editing photos in the first place, to make them look more awesome.


Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 8.36.36 AM

I took this photo of a classmate, Yasmina, when I was walking around school looking for people to photograph. She posed very well and I was generally happy with the outcome of the photo. The only problem was that the background was not very good, and there was too much of it. My first step in editing this picture was to crop it. This helped a lot because it zeroed in on Yasmina’s facial expression and features which was exactly what I was looking for. After cropping it, I went through several effects to see which one looked best. I ended up using Photographic Toning once again, but this time a cooler one. I used a very light bluish/greenish color that made the black areas in the photo stand out and look so detailed. I like how one side of her face looks like it’s been painted while the other looks normal. In reality, all this was, was the sunlight hitting off her face. I also like how her hair covers most of the background. Her hair also has some texture added to it because of the gradient which makes it look fantastic.

Me, Myself, and I

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Last but definitely not least, me!! My self-portrait was definitely the most difficult, yet the funnest portrait of the 5. It took a lot of creativity and inspiration to finally come up with this marvellous outcome, I mean, no need to be modest, am I right? At first I was thinking of looking into a glass window that showed my reflection and photographing that. It worked and I liked it, but it was so simple! I wanted to challenge myself and really express who I am. I love telling stories and fantasizing about things that are unrealistic. I’m a daydreamer and I absolutely love to imagine. So what better way to show this than to show people the impossible? My friend Hanna was my inspiration to do this, she did this for her self-portrait but with a different message. She showed me how she did it, and I kept trying until I got it. It is very easy actually, just needs a little patience. I did get frustrated here and there, I must admit, but it was worth it.

In the long run, I am extremely proud that I managed to do something as great as this. =) So once I posed twice, took hundreds of photos, put the layers together, and edited until I dropped..it turned out like this. I wanted it to be simple but meaningful. I turned the background black and white and left myself in color (something I recently learned how to do). I felt like that was a very good decision because I wanted to show how the lamp light reflected on my face in contrast to no light in the background (black and white). My message in this photo is that one duplicate is trying to get rid of the other by blowing her away like the wind. The duplicate being blown away is holding an umbrella (inconveniently) and so is trying to stay on the ground but is failing miserably. Facial impressions were very significant in this photo because they told the story. The moral of the message is that, don’t limit yourself to the possible, nothing is impossible unless you have that mindset. So stay open-minded and learn to accept differences. This was definitely the absolute best portrait I’ve ever done, and definitely my favorite.

Thanks for viewing!! =)


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