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Photographing Blured Portraits

Updated on February 25, 2014
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0 | Source

There are plenty of photographic techniques that recreate scenes that would otherwise not be possible or feasible in reality.

Portrait photography is one of the business were the vast majority of them seem to follow the same pattern; the models pose and you take the shot. Sure creative angles, perspective and lighting can add excitement to the shot but they often are just what they appear; a static pose.

With some props, some creative clothing, a studio like space and a couple of large fans, movement is introduced into the scene. Remember that our eyes transmit information to our brains and it in return fills in the gaps.

Try this experiment for a second to "see" what goes on with your brain. Read the following bold paragraph quickly and out loud, then afterwards carefully look at each word;

"For emaxlpe, it deson’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod aepapr, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer are in the rghit pcale. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit pobelrm."

You see, the brain organized the letters in their right order and ignored the fact that they were out of place.

Thus if the brain "sees" what appears as something moving, then it assumes that the subject is actually moving, even though you are smart enough to know better.

This is especially true if the scene does not seem like a real possibility or if you know that to take a real life image would have been very difficult indeed or even when the scene presents a surreal element.

Take for example a models preferably with long hair who is also dressed in some loose clothing or the clothing has free floating pieces.

Have your model sit on a bicycle as if she is really bicycling at full speed. If you take the shot as is, no matter how technically perfect the photograph is, your audience can clearly see that the model and the bike are not going anywhere they are standing still.

But if you however, place fans in front of the same model the air that they produce will immediately make the hair go back, the clothing stick against her body and if you can make the tires spin, then the scene appears to be that of a person on a moving bike.

Off course you need to pay attention to the backdrop, monotone ones wok better because of their lack of perspective that a viewer can use to judge movement. You can also add a digital background if you wish to complete the scene later.

To enhance the feeling of movement you can also take a shot of moving traffic using a slow shutter speed and afterward projecting this onto a white surface placed behind the main subjects. Likewise for a nature theme, use a slow shutter speed while rotating your body and camera. This technique is quite similar to what is used in some Hollywood movies.

Want to do the same scene with a surreal theme, then substitute the bicycle for a toy horse much like what carousel horses look like. They can be rented from quite a number of prop houses or photography houses as they are a common props for weddings and other events.

Your brain knows that the toy horse is not really galloping at full speed, but it associates the moving hair, clothes etc and connects those with movement... voila!

Want more drama? Rent or borrow a parachute, open it (although you only need to show the holding straps that hold the person to the actual nylon canopy), suspend the model with a waist harness from the ceiling if you can or she can just stand on a high stool, which you can edit out later.

While she looks down to the fast approaching "ground', place a fan below her and you have just create the feeling that she has really jumped from an airplane. Complete the scene by adding a digital backdrop later.

For the most creative of effects or even for a surreal touch, then think outside the box and play with the clothing; a parachutists jumping in high heels and applying make up, a biker doing her nails and so on do not make sense and this is where you create the surreal or whimsical effect.


Does this seem like an easy technique?

See results

© 2012 Luis E Gonzalez


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