Portrait Photography Tips

All of us at some point in time have aimed a camera and created a portrait photograph but some of us do it better than others. Some say – to get a better photograph, get a better face; however, good portrait photographers understand and know how to showcase the uniqueness of each face and personality that he clicks.
Here are, top 10 simple tips on how to add the wow factor when you are clicking people.

  1. Background: Whether you are shooting in a studio or outside, the background of the picture is a pretty important component for portrait photos. A great background should be something that matches the emotion, expression or personality of the person being photographed. Choose a background which contributes to the message you want the photograph to send.
  2. Lighting: In order to showcase your main subject lighting is also critically important factor in a portrait photograph. The best type of lighting is usually front lighting as it reduces blemishes and makes the photo less flat. Other options are side-lighting, backlighting and silhouetting your subject.
  3. Focus Points – Ideally for portrait photography, one is better than many. Select one focus point only and keep it in the centre as it is the strongest point in the frame.
  4. Eye Contact – As they say eyes are the window to your personality hence, eyes are the most important part of a portrait. If they are sharp and in focus, the rest of the picture can be out of focus and it’ll still look good.
  5. Shoot In The Shade - Direct sunlight tends to create hard, directional shadows, which is unflattering. So, shoot your images in the shade to get smooth, even shadows and softer light. In fact the best days for photography are cloudy overcast days as the clouds help soften the sunlight and enrich the colours hence giving smooth and even tones along with flattering shadows.
  1. Use Colour –While black & white portraits have their own charm, do try to add some colour to your portraits. You can always find ways to inject bright colours into your portraits to shake things up a bit and create attention grabbing portraits.
  1. Character Revelation: Try to capture at least one element which reveals something about the person. Any good portrait photograph needs to showcase something unique about the person be it the subject’s personality, attitude, mannerisms, special features or traits.
  1. Shoot Candidly - Sometimes posed shots can look a little artificial. Also, some people might be uncomfortable posing or don’t look good posed. So, photograph your subject doing something that they love. This will put them more at ease and you can get some natural shots, especially for children portraits.
  1. Introduce a Prop – Adding a prop to your shot creates another point of interest, which can enhance and add a sense of story to your photograph. Though one needs to be careful that the prop should not steal the focus away from the main subject.
  1. Up Close and Angles – The best thing to do in order to ensure that your subject is in focus and will capture the viewer’s attention is to go for a close up shot which will fill the frame with their face. Also, try to take the picture from various angles by squatting or lying down.

Lastly, the key to a good portrait or people photography is to ask yourself what you want to portray and then use the above mentioned tips to capture that essence of your subject in your photograph.

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