Photographer's Blog

Hues of Hue – Portraiture Styles

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens, f/2.8, 67mm, 1/500, ISO 100
A stall vendor gazes off into the distance 

From the bustling streets in the city’s center to the last fishing village in Hue, opportunities for gorgeous portraits are endless. But how does one best portray these interesting characters? 

 

Environmental Portraiture

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens, f/2.8, 47mm, 1/6400, ISO 500
A woman in traditional Vietnamese garb goes about her day

Typically depicting everyday life, environmental portraiture features the subject in his usual environment, whether at home or at work. This genre of portraiture is great for showcasing a subject’s character and the objects around him symbolic of his life. It is thought that by having the subject in his natural surroundings, he would be more at ease, which translates to a more natural image. 

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens, f/2.8, 39mm, 1/2500, ISO 500
An old man smiles for the camera 

Messy backgrounds can be distracting, but in the case of environmental portraiture, could work to your advantage too as it adds dimension to your photo. Alternatively, you can always use a low aperture for a greater depth of field to put all focus on your subject.

Read more here on the basics of Aperture settings: Learning about Aperture

 

Unconventional Portraiture 

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens, f/2.8, 47mm, 1/6400, ISO 500
A fisherwoman mends her net in the last rays of the afternoon sun 

Think of this genre as your regular portraiture, but with a twist. Incorporating props from everyday objects can work to your advantage by adding an extra dimension to your story – you just need to get creative with what to use! In the image above, I shot this woman from a fishing village through one her old fishing traps that was lying around to create a more unique composition. It also re-emphasizes the story of who she is and what she does for a living. 

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens, f/2.8, 24mm, 1/2500, ISO 500
An old man smiles through a clutch a dried bamboo sticks 

Some of the best shots do happen by chance – just make sure you always have your camera somewhere nearby!

 

Street Portraiture

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens, f/2.8, 35mm, 1/640, ISO 250
A traditional incense stick maker clutches a day’s hard work

There are two ways you can go about street portraiture – staged and un-staged. With staged street portraiture, you don’t change the surroundings of the subject, but instead the subject. Give them something to hold or position them elsewhere as you feel best for your image (remember to be polite when you ask). In the case of this incense stick maker, I thought the colour of her incense sticks would really pop against the blue gate, so I guided her to stand as such. 

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM lens, f/4, 16mm, 1/3200, ISO 100
A fisherman out at sea, throwing his net out for the day’s haul

Un-staged street portraiture might require a little more patience ­(I photographed this guy at least 50 times before getting this shot) but the results are definitely worth it. Some of the best shots do happen by chance – just make sure you always have your camera somewhere nearby! 

Watch the video here:

 

 

EOS 5D Mark IV (Body)

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EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM

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EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM

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Justin Mott

Justin is an award-winning documentary, editorial and commercial photographer born in Rhode Island USA and based for over eight years in Southeast Asia. His work has been featured in publications as diverse as The New York Times, TIME, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, The Guardian, BBC, CNN, Bon Appetit, Forbes and numerous other international publications.

justinmott.com

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As always thank you for featuring me on your site. If any of you have any photography questions, you can ask me here or visit http://www.askmott.com Thanks, Justin

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