Portrait Composition Tips with Background Considerations

When you think of portrait photos, you might think that all you need is an 85mm lens, a camera, and a pretty model. Simply capture the face in the frame and that’s it. You have a nice portrait image. However, the pros know there’s more to it than that. This video on compositional tips for portrait photography by Julia Trotti is to help beginner portrait photographers – those who might not know that there’s more to creating a good composition with portraits:

Some of the interesting compositional tips that Julia shares are:

  1. Never crop out the feet when shooting full-body portraits.
  2. When shooting mid-length portraits crop above the knees rather than below.
  3. Keep the subject’s face as the center of focus for sitting down portraits. It also helps keep distortions at bay (especially with a lens like the 35mm which is unconventional for portraits).

She loves shooting with a 35mm lens – an unconventional choice for portraiture, no doubt. With a wide-angle lens like that you must get in close to be able to make a good composition.

She justifies the use of the lens by stating that she loves leaving negative space around the subject. We happen to like this technique a lot too. What do you think about it? Let us know in the comments.

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