portrait photography tips

Portrait Photography

Article by emerging Photographer Sharlyn

The classic portrait taken at eye level with the subject looking down the lens is always a good way to start learning but if you want to add wow factor to your portrait try taking it from another perspective.

Capturing the subject from up high shoot down on to the subject or get as close to the ground as you can and shoot up. Either way you’ll be seeing your subject from an angle that is bound to create interest.

 

Depending on your expected outcome of the portrait a controlled background is always best. Being a portrait you want the person to be the main subject so a grey, white or plain background will help.

If you don’t have control over your environment you can still focus on the subject. Try finding the least most distracting background in the environment you are in to shoot your portrait or adjust your focus so only the person is in focus and everything else is blurred.

 

Play with Eye Contact

The direction of your subject’s eye can have such an amazing impact on the image.

The classic portrait has the eyes fixed on the barrel of the lens, which creates a real sense of connection between the viewer and the subject.

 

To create candidness and add a little interest to the viewer, have the subject set their focus on something that is not captured in the frame. This intrigue is particularly drawn about when the subject is showing some kind of emotion (i.e. ‘what’s making them laugh?’ or ‘what is making them look surprised?’)

portrait tips

In doing this you should be aware that the subject could still draw the eye of the viewer to them and not just to the edge of the frame. You still want them to be the main focus but to create questions for the viewer.

 

Alternatively you could create a second point of interest by having the subject look at something else that is within the frame. To achieve this you could have a child looking at a toy or a woman looking/smelling a bunch of flowers. If taking a family portrait have the parents looking at their baby. Implementing a second or third point of interest your creating a story in the one frame. It leaves little room for question and the subjects become the only focus.

child portait

Close up

 

If your subject has something alluring or interesting about them like bright eyes or big lips, zoom in to accentuate these points. Close ups can feel intruding for the subject so using a zoom lens like Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM Lens will help but if you don’t have a zoom lens don’t fret break the ice and feel comfortable with the subject to get close enough to fill the frame..

portrait close up

pre-wedding photosession

Don’t be afraid to crop parts of the subject off such as the top or sides of their face; it helps to reduce distractions from the environment. Also try to avoid cropping the subject’s chin, as this can appear unnatural in most circumstances.
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About Christian Tudor

professional photographer, main editor at Academy of Photography and owner and principal photographer of Tudor Photography