Portrait photography is a form of creative expression. Capturing the essence, personality and depth of a person through the lens can be difficult but it’s well worth the effort to get that perfect shot. There are many different ideas for portrait photography; some may be familiar while others less so. But regardless if you’re an amateur or professional photographer there’s always something new to learn about this art-form. Here are thirteen unique tips on how you can take your own portraits!
1. Get the right lighting
Lighting is one of the most important aspects of any portrait. In fact, it’s actually as important as the subject itself! Getting your lighting set up correctly from the start will ensure that you can work with any room or objects around to create a perfect shot for your collection. Natural light has many features that may not be attainable through artificial sources such as a studio flash unit, so make sure you always have a window nearby when out shooting a subject. Alternatively, try to arrange yourself against a backdrop with natural light streaming in from behind you, creating soft shadows and smoothing over blemishes which could otherwise be exposed if close to direct sunlight. Be warned though, the quality of light changes throughout the day depending on the time of year and weather conditions – for example, light around noon in summer is very harsh due to the high sun, whereas late afternoon sunlight can be very soft.
2. Take a step back
One quick tip on taking your portrait photography further is by stepping back from your subject. The majority of people have their cameras pointed at arm’s length when shooting portraits which isn’t always the best shot you can get. Try instead standing further away so that more of the background comes into view, or if preferred position yourself above or below your subject to achieve something different. This will not only give you another point of view but also means that backgrounds are more varied too. If you’re looking for new ideas on what backgrounds are good to use then try standing away from the wall, or have a friend throw some objects onto a large blanket for you to capture.
3. Be vulnerable!
When taking portrait photography think of it as more of a conversation than a one-sided event. Try mixing around you’re sequencing so that at times you’re in full control of exposure and other times allowing your subject to feel relaxed and move into positions that can’t be repeated. This way you get far more out of the experience by getting not only great shots but also more natural expressions too which will ultimately lead to better portraits! If this is your first time shooting then ask the person if you can take their picture. It’s surprising how people feel less guarded when they know someone is attempting to make them look good rather than judge them!
4. Invest in lighting equipment
Investment is another great tip for improving your portrait photography skills. Set yourself targets to work towards and slowly build up a collection of studio lighting accessories like reflectors, softboxes etc. These can be most times easily picked up from online retailers at low prices so you don’t have to spend thousands upfront if you’re just starting out. In addition, research other ways which you can control light such as the use of black or white backgrounds, available light vs flash etc. You may find that adding/using these into your creative repertoire will help give a different twist to your shots!
5. Avoid distractions
You should always try and avoid any sort of potential distractions in your portraits, not simply to improve the professionalism of your shot but also to put you in the best position to get ‘the’ photo. This may involve turning off any noisy fans or machines which could otherwise produce an annoying buzzing sound when taking shots if not actively dealt with. Alternatively, it means avoiding busy background scenes where there are lots of different colors and objects that draw the eye away from your subject (unless this is what you’re trying to achieve). Always try and keep things simple by cleaning up around the area before shooting so it doesn’t distract too much attention away from your subject – for example by removing clutter on tables etc.
6. Look at other portrait photography examples
This tip will help broaden your creative repertoire even further than just reading this article – be sure to regularly research other photographers who are working within the same genre as you. This will inevitably help you pick up different techniques that could prove useful for your own subject matter, plus give you great ideas on new locations to try out too!
7. Consider the light
The quality of light is important in all kinds of photography but even more so when taking portrait shots, especially if you want to take something simple and turn it into something special. The best time to shoot portraits is naturally just after sunrise or before sunset when natural colours are well balanced due to the sun’s angle over which causes soft shadows. However sometimes things aren’t always that easy because not everyone has free reign over their schedule throughout the day … so if this is the case then try and find some other ways to improve light, such as using a flash or diffuser on it etc.
Stop thinking about yourself as a photographer and learn to think of yourself as an artist instead! If you want your pictures to be more creative and unique then try and follow the ‘less is more’ approach rather than overdoing things with complicated settings that most people will have no idea what they mean anyway – It’s perfectly fine to have one shot with lots of flare for example but if every single shot has it then you’re just going out of your way to confuse people! You can also look into making use of negative space in photography too – there’s so much creativity involved in being creative, so don’t be afraid to get on the right track. [ARTICLE END]