Portrait Photography is as the name suggests is about taking photos of people in such as way that the photos enhance their appearance and gives and impression of a portrait. Portrait photography can be done at the studio, at home or in the open.
The concept of portrait photography comes from portrait painting. You can take photos of a single person, two individuals or a group of people.
It is also one of the earliest forms of photography and many people took to having family portrait photos done for them, because it was a more viable manner of taking pictures of the family, than having a large expensive portrait done.
Many people take portrait photographs of their family for placing them in their homes. One of the most common areas to see a portrait photography being done is in the form of wedding photos. Though wedding photography is a separate category, taking portrait photos is inclusive here.
A portrait photographer should be able to bring out not just the physical beauty of his subjects but also their inner spirit. This is the essence of portrait photography.… being able to take photos of an unknown subject, yet being able to bring out the inner self of the subject in the photo.
Taking excellent portrait photos requires experience, which can be gained by practice and experimentation. Here are a couple of useful tips on how to go about taking quality portrait photos:
You should build a good rapport with the person or persons, you are going to photograph. Bring out the best in them and allow them their freedom in how they choose to dress and present themselves. Make suggestions, only if required.
The background against which you photography your subject must compliment the subject. If you a going to take a group photo of the family in an open area ensure that the area where you photograph them enhances their looks and does not diminish it. One the other hand if you feel studio light is best for the subject, ensure that the backdrop makes the subject come out.
Choose the correct angle for the photo. If you choose something that's too low, you will be exaggerating face area like the nose, eye and so on. Too high an angle gives the opposite effect, with the head looking enhanced. Do a little experimentation with the angles before you click the photo as you can find one that show off your subject at their best.
The best thing to do when taking portrait photos is to use natural lighting. Two thing to avoid, when using natural lighting is taking photos with the sun behind the subject or glaring at the subject, as both of these will cause the photo to show bad lighting. If the photo is to be taken in the studio, ensure that you use correct indirect sources of light. They should be arranged in such as way that they illuminate the room instead of shining on the object directly.
The portrait photos focus must be on the subject eyes and should bring to the subject through the look of their eyes. You can try different angles to make the eyes looks beautiful and striking such as a side glances or looking straight into the camera.
The background, against which you take photos, must be something that is neutral. A better idea would be to have a blurred background. This can be done by taking the photo through zoom lens, using wide aperture settings or shooting the subject from very short distances. If you cannot do blurring using the camera, you an always blur off the background using photo processing software on your PC.
Portrait photography can be very challenging, because it requires great skill to bring out the best in people whom you really don't know. You need to bring them out in their exact moods and as they are know to be for the people around them or according to the occasion for which they are bring photographed.