How to be a Portrait Photographer by Geoff Reader

Geoff Reader
Geoff Reader
This week Mid-Cheshire Camera Club was joined by Geoff Reader from Alsager Camera Club. Geoff is a passionate portrait photographer and, in this presentation, Geoff covered the main areas of how we go about arranging and shooting a portrait session.

Geoff started off by explaining that a passion for photographing people is a key element to obtaining good success in this genre. Most of us at some stage, armed with our cameras, will have taken images of our family and friends. Geoff described other options where we could get willing participants to photography; The Black Country Museum offers all-year-round periods backdrops and people in costume who are more than willing to be photographed. Geoff then explained about some of the modelling agencies available where we could as a club, hire a model from.

Throughout his talk, Geoff described the wow factor of an image. He explained a number of things that he did to tease out the best version from the pixels. This included using speedlights’ coupled with basic modifiers such as shoot-through umbrellas to create mood, using coloured backdrops or digitally colouring the backdrops using a blend of textures to suit the mood and style of the image. Geoff explained that in post-production, he would often remove the existing background and insert one of his own ‘blends’ to enhance an image.

Geoff was keen to point out that capturing a subject’s eye is a really important part of portrait photography. Generally speaking, it has to be the sharpest point of the image and the focus can fall off from the eye. If the closest eye to the viewer is out of focus the image will lose its appeal. This part of the presentation then led to the importance of building a rapport with a subject so they feel at ease being photographed and appear facially relaxed.

All in all, this was a great introduction into the world of portrait photography with a number of good learning points for our members. We thank Geoff for his time and expertise and look forward to seeing him later on in our season when he comes back to judge one of our comps in the early spring.

For more information about the Mid-Cheshire Camera Club visit our website at or come along to a meeting on Wednesday evening at 7.45 for 8pm at St Andrews Methodist Church, Dingle Lane, Winsford.