Photography Corner: Portraits

In  exchange for speech coaching, I recently had a photo session with photographer Mark Tuschman. His new book, Faces of Courage, has been getting rave reviews. It has some of the most beautiful portraits I’ve ever seen. 

During our time together, Mark showed me some of the ways he creates these amazing images. Since many of us take photos of the people in our lives, knowing secrets to compelling pictures could be helpful. 

Over the course of two hours we took about 100 photos of my daughter, Katherine, below. Here are tips I picked up from Mark. You might try them in your next family shoot.

• Shoot mostly indoors with only natural light. No flash.

• Pay a lot of attention to the light source, often a window or two. 

Note the secondary light source behind Katherine. 

• Tripods are great for stability if you have the time.

• Understand “depth of field” so you can use f stops to throw the background out of focus.

• Focus on one of the eyes.

After the session, I was sure I needed a new camera and lenses in the $2,000 to $3,000 range. Mark reinforced what I’ve secretly known for years, it’s not the camera in my hands that creates a good photo… it is what is between my ears.

Thank you, Mark.

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