Mark Alberhasky offered detailed critiques at the Roswell Photographic Society meeting on May 25th of our people photographs. The group has meetings twice a month. Once a month we bring our photographs in for critique and the other meeting is a lecture/workshop.
I learned a lot and want to share some of his comments. He said that photographs of people sell really well. He lectured that "It's not about taking the picture; it's about meeting the person." After you meet the person, then taking the photograph is easy. Mark's mentor taught him get close by cutting the distance between the subject and the camera in half to improve people photographs. And, to be more specific, he suggested shooting 360° around the subject. And, in contrast of getting close, he suggested shooting wide to crop later on. But these ideas apply to different scenes and situations.
Mark is a believer, like I am, of "shoot, shoot, shoot!" The more you shoot, the better the photos. Explaining, he said, "Shoot 20-30 until you get the one you want."
He talked a lot about lighting. He suggested using a rear sync setting on our cameras. He said to practice the background first and then add [just a little] flash. Mark said, "Use pop up flash in bright sun to add light on the face." This will help bring out the whites in the eyes. Look at the manual to see how to lessen the strength of the pop-up flash. During the critiques he suggested using the vibrance tool in lightroom. And of course, he said we will have to learn how to use artificial lighting if we want to make portraits.
Towards the end, he suggested writing down the idea you want to convey in the photograph. Other general comments that apply to all types of photography included a suggestion to make the image out of balance to "create energy in the frame." Continuing, Mark suggested running your eye around the frame and ask if there is anything you don't need in the frame.
Learn more about Mark Alberhasky on his site.