In November, we will photograph People!  It sounds simple, but there is actually a lot to consider.  Remember back to our February Light theme, as light in portraits is very important.  You'll also want to remember to include catchlights in the subject's eyes.  And finally, remember that it is important for the eyes to be in focus.  

44/52 - PORTRAIT

Taking a portrait of a person requires thought.  Yes, we learned about light and composition, but this month we will explore a portrait tells a little something about the person.  We can feel something, or learn something about the person, just by looking at the image.  

Denise Laurinaitis Grace Defined Photography Grace Project October Portrait

What do you see here?  What do you think when you view this image?  Do we learn anything about the man with the hat by the clues in the background?  We see two cameras pointed at him. Given the closeness of the cameras, and the fact that they don't have long telephoto lenses, we learn that this group of people surrounding him are likely with him, rather than paparazzi photographers who would likely be further away from him.  We also learn that he is comfortable in front of the camera on the street out in public.  Could he be famous?  Maybe, but if he were, we would likely have seen those paparazzi lenses.  Do you have an idea of who he is or what is happening?  I hope you can gather some sort of impression!

If you'd prefer to take a traditional portrait, that is fine too.  Practicing posing is just as important as telling a story!


As photographers, we are usually more comfortable being behind the camera than in front of it.  We find reasons to not be in pictures, but we need to exist in them too.  

In order to take a self-portrait, pull out your tripod and set it up.  Stand where you will be in your photo and point the camera to the tripod and focus your camera on the tripod.  Then turn your lens into manual mode.  Remember where you stood, and then put your camera on the tripod.  Make sure exposure is correct, and turn the camera into self-timer mode.  If you have a remote, that would be handy.  Otherwise press the shutter release button with a 10-second delay and run to the spot where you had been.  If you have a remote, take it in your hand and go to the spot where you originally stood.  Press the shutter release on the remote to take your picture.  

Now that you know the "how", think about the "what".  What do you want to say in your self-portrait?  Do you want to show a trait?  or an interest?  or your favorite place? do you have something political to say?  or do you want to express an emotion?  The "what" is just as important as the "how" as it tells us something about you.  

Denise Laurinaitis Grace Defined Photography Grace Project October Self Portrait

Here, I tried to show the shy side of me.  I tilted my head down and to the side as a way to express my quietness.  I also purposely put the light on the side that will be blocked by my hair to further emphasize the fact that I stay "in the shadows" so to speak.  My arms are pulled in, which you can see just a little here, further protecting myself from being out in the open.  I left my hair messy, because it's usually that way, and I'm wearing a very dark grey/almost black because, well, that's me!  Finally, I added a small smile, to show that I am not mean, and taken together with all of the rest, that I am approachable, although I may not approach you.  Do you see it?  I hope so!


This topic is a little easier in that you don't have to be in front of the camera! But it's difficult because you need to photograph something that represents you.  Again, think of a trait, an emotion, an interest, etc and then pick something that can express it.  

Denise Laurinaitis Grace Defined Photography Grace Project October Selfless Self Portrait

What do you feel when you view this?  I had just completed a long marathon of things that took months and months to end, and I was exhausted.  And just before taking this image, I received bad news in regard to those things I had only completed.  Can you tell how I was feeling?



Anonymity is a wonderful thing.  It allows us to associate more with an image because we do not see the face of the subject.  It lets our viewer into the image where he or she can relate.  It can be accomplished many ways; try to be unique!

Denise Laurinaitis Grace Defined Photography Grace Project October Anonymity


We are in our last season of the year.  Let's see what it looks like by you!

Denise Laurinaitis Grace Defined Photography Grace Project October Seasons Part 4

I hope you found this information helpful.  Please remember to post your images to the appropriate albums on Facebook no later than November 30, 2017.  The albums are located here:  44/52 Portrait, 45/52 Self-Portrait, 46/52 Selfless Self-Portrait, 47/52 Anonymity and 48/52 Seasons Part 4.

I look forward to seeing your work.  

Finally, if you have not yet joined, please consider visiting the Grace Project and join today.