Portrait Photography Tips

In general, people pictures can be grouped into two: portraits and candid. Either can actually be taken with or without the awareness and cooperation of the subject. In this article, we’ll look at some of the ways you can take stunning portraits, by adding a little randomness into your portrait photography.

1. Experiment with the Perspective

Most photographer take portraits with the camera around or at the eye level of the subject. Though this is good common sense, you can completely change the angle from which you shoot and give your portrait a WOW factor. Get as close to the ground and shoot the subject up, or get high and shoot down on the subject. Either way, you will see your subject from an angle bound to create interest.

2. Playing with Eye Contact

The direction of your subject’s eyes has a great impact on the image. Many portraits usually have the subject looking down on the lens, which is something that creates a good sense of connection between the viewer and the subject.

• Looking off the camera: You can have the subject focus their attention on something unseen, preferably outside the view of the camera. This creates a feeling of candidness, and it arouses some interest and intrigue on the viewer, as they wonder what the subject is looking at. This kind of intrigue is usually drawn when the subject shows some form of emotion.

• Looking at something within the frame: you can also have the subject look at something within the frame. Some examples include a woman looking at her baby, a child looking at a baseball or a man hungrily looking at a big box of pizza. When the subject is looking at something of interest inside the frame, it creates a second point of interest, and a relationship between the subject and the object. This helps to create a story behind the image.

3. Experiment with the Lighting

The way you light the portrait is another way to introduce the element of randomness. When it comes to lighting in portraits, there are almost unlimited possibilities. You can use side lighting to create the mood, while backlighting and silhouetting the subject can yield powerful effects.

4. Try the Candid Type Approach

Sometimes, posed portrait shots simply look posed. But some people don’t look good in the posed environment, and taking the candid type approach is best. Try photographing your subject doing something they love, while at work, or with their family. This puts them at ease and you will end up getting some incredible shots, as they react naturally to their situation. To take you out of their immediate zone, use your longer zoom lens and get paparazzi with them. This portrait photography trick is particularly effective with children.

5. Add a Prop

Introduce some form of a prop into the shot and create another point of interest to enhance your shot. Although you risk taking much of the focus away from the main subject, you could add a sense of story and situation on the image, and give your subject an extra layer of depth that would be lacking without the prop.

6. Anticipate Behavior

Knowing your subjects well enough that you can anticipate what they are going to do next is an important element in portrait photography. This is the only way you can get incredible pictures out of it. if you wait until you see it, then you’re too late. The key here is to watch your subject carefully, and have your camera ready. If you’re shooting in one situation, then you can set the shutter speed and aperture in advance, so that you don’t need to fiddle with them as you’re shooting. Watch them through the viewfinder, and if you pay enough attention, you can sense what is about to happen.

With portrait photography, the point is to use your imagination and your eyes. Use detail and abstraction to say something about the beauty of the human body, or about an individual. Don’t forget that you are intimately working with people, and you have to direct them at some point, about how and where to pose.