Portraits by Nhan Nguyen The portraits taken for this project had no particular guidelines, but rather was independent students were given the freedom to experiment with the composition of the portraits while still attempting to incorporate composition techniques taught in class and produce high quality photos.

The most challenging thing about portraits is capturing the model without an artificial, unnatural look. After experimenting with multiple poses, I had Joey leaning against the wall to create a relax, nonchalant look to the portrait. There were also assistants present to help us with the reflector, to create a glowing effect despite it being a cloudy, overcast day. The inclusion of the bounce light made possible by the reflector allowed for the extra glow in the picture, and pairs nicely with his lighter complexion. F/4.5, 1/2500 sec, ISO - 400

Continuing with the theme of leaning against the wall, I took the picture from a different angle, to capture all perspectives of Joey's face. I also chose to take this picture in landscape mode to accentuate his face as compared to the background, and was able to employ a rule of thirds technique to eliminate the stagnant, dead-center traditional portrait. The reflector was also used in this picture, to give his face some color on a cloudy, overcast day.

f/4.5, 1/2500 sec, ISO - 400

Taken on the same day as the previous two, I still had him leaning against the wall, because I liked how his tan clothes both simultaneously popped against the grey background, but also complimented it nicely. Being establishing a good relationship with your model is always important, to allow for comfortable experience. Prior to the picture being taken, he and I were goofing around, and as the picture was being taken, he was suppressing laugh, which I think was caught in the picture. f/4.5, 1/1600 sec, ISO - 400.
Another important aspect of portraiture is not producing entirely staged and generic pictures. This photo was taken spontaneously, almost as a joke, but I liked how it turned out, and the slightly shallow depth of field I was able to capture, to establish Joey as the main focal point of the picture. f/5, 1/50 sec, ISO - 400.
I wanted to get a candid, up-close shot of Joey to round out the type of portraits I had. I like this photo because of the amount of detail captured in the picture, for example how every hair and his eyelashes were clearly captured. This picture was taken on a cloudy day, which is probably the best lighting situation for portraits. This photo also was not planned. I put him off to the side a little bit to allow the eye to immediately gravitate towards him, and the shallow depth of field also allows for minimal distraction in the picture. f/5.6, 1/800 sec, ISO - 400.
Originally, I did not intend for the shadow to pop up on the left side of Mason's face, but as I was sorting through the pictures I liked the progression of dark to light on his face, and how it accentuates his jawline and gives the picture an abstract look. This photo was also not posed, and was taken spontaneously. I also was impressed by the detail of the image despite the lower lighting conditions. f/5.6, 1/800 sec, ISO - 400.

Reflection - After two weeks of this project, I learned that taking portraits is a lot more tricky and requires a lot more effort than I had originally thought prior to actually taking them myself. I realized the extreme times of awkwardness between shots, and how personal modeling is. Establishing a good relationship with the model is extremely important, and allows more genuine pictures and an overall positive experience. I also learned that using composition techniques to isolate the model as the main focus is also extremely important; along the lines of this, being aware of the background is extremely important, as I found myself with multiple pictures of trees forming out of Joey's ear.


  • Establish a good relationship your model
  • Be aware of lighting situations, use different reflectors if necessary
  • Don't premeditate all shots, natural shots are welcomed
  • Be aware of your background, may be distracting
  • Have fun and try not to be too robotic, being carefree allows for a fun experience

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.