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Fotospeed Photographers

Photographing People with Margaret Salisbury

Posted: 24 Jul 2019


“I find the most enjoyable images are to capture people in their own setting, at work, at play, in their homes or villages, and getting to know them, talking to them or communicating using body language, the most essential thing is a love of people and a ready smile.”  
- Margaret Salisbury, FRPS, MFIAP, FIPF, APAGB, AWPF, FSITTP


The general term ‘People photography’ can cover many categories such as Portraiture (Studio or Environmental) Travel, Candid and Applied Photography.  In this blog, Fotospeed photographer Margaret Salisbury talks about her personal preference of Environmental Portraiture and talks us through her recent work.


Photographic opportunities where models are available such as re-enactment, Venice, other Carnivals, and other events are popular with photographers and provide subjects in locations which have great appeal, but the aim is to capture something different.



‘The Fan’ taken at Venice Carnival.

In this photo, the Manikin was posing in the Square, I had persuaded him to stand at the edge of the Canal and encouraged him to hold the fan, so that the Rising Sun shone through the fan. Using a little fill in flash, I was able to capture using the light background to show the subject in a different way. 



Wading into the water to take “The Pole Fishermen”, I persuaded one man to leave his pole, so I could photograph him as the main subject with other Fishermen in the background. This is a great example of using everything as your resource in the situation you are in, from the background, position, camera angle, crop and format.



I took the above picture “Skeleton Boy”, from a low angle, chose vertical format and cropped and printed the image on Panorama Paper to feel the added drama.



In the above picture “Faces and Fingers”, I cropped the image to remove any distractions in the background. I also printed this paper on Panorama Paper, which is available in several surfaces.

Another system I use is, having agreement for me to take pictures, I use ‘flash on camera’ when normally the subject/s will pose or be too aware of the camera, I take a few shots then turn off the flash lower the camera make eye contact with subject/s, when they relax, and act naturally, I take more pictures which result in, for me, the best results.

To use flash or not to use flash?

My use of flash is dependent on many situations. Once I have received an agreement from the photography subjects, I use flash when they are ‘posing’, I find that this makes them very aware of the camera and therefore after a few shots I turn off the flash. I lower the camera and make eye contact with the subjects to relax them and help them to act natural. I have found that this gives me the best result

How to choose the right paper for each image?

Once I have chosen the size of the paper, the format, the border and the mount – the next important stage is to choose the surface which will show the subjects off in the best way possible. I personally use the guidelines from the Fotospeed range, for example in the above image of “The Pole Fisherman” there is a background of water which is ‘glossy’ and suits Platinum Gloss Art Fibre.



‘Gypsy Man and Boy’

The contrast and richness of black tones, sharpness and clarity of Platinum Baryta is always my first choice for monochrome images, such as in the image of “The Gypsy Man and Boy” above, as well as for colour images such as “The Fan” at the top of this blog.

The rough textile rocks and body paint in “Skeleton Boy” suits the guidelines for Platinum Etching. For “Faces and Fingers”, the best paper in my opinion would be, Smooth Cotton. Meanwhile it is worth nothing, a less expensive but excellent paper for most subjects and general use is the very popular Photo Smooth Pearl.

I believe you ‘Take a photograph with a camera but produce the image in the Darkroom/Lightroom’.  This makes the print the final act in the creation of the image and therefore the paper you choose to print it on is just as significant as what you choose to capture.

“Taking pictures is a joy but taking people pictures is also a privilege.”
- Margaret Salisbury, FRPS, MFIAP, FIPF, APAGB, AWPF, FSITTP.

Want more ideas on how to improve your photography and prints? Check out the rest of our blogs, or get in touch to see how Fotospeed can help!

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