Top 10 Portrait Photography Tips

In portrait photography, the face and the expression of the subject are predominant. The aim is to exhibit the personality and the mood of the subject. Here are the top 10 tips for creating unique images:

portrait photography tips

“Chi X” captured by Thomas Jeppesen (Click Image to See More From Thomas Jeppesen)

1. Alter Your Viewpoint

Portraits are generally captured with the camera at or around the subject’s eye level. So when you change the angle that you shoot from, your portrait acquires a sensational factor. You can either get up high and shoot down on your subject or get as near to the floor as you can and shoot up. This way you’ll be shooting your subject from an angle that is certain to create attention.

2. Play with Eye Contact

The direction in which your subject looks can have a great effect on the image. Apart from looking at the lens directly, you can try these:

Looking off camera. Make your subject focus at something which is outside the field of your camera. You can achieve this by making him look at something surprising or funny. This creates a curiosity amongst the viewers, as they start wondering what the subject might be looking at.

Looking within the frame. Otherwise you have your subject look at something or someone within the frame. This helps to create an anecdote within the snap.

3. Break the Rules of Composition

Place your subject either at the dead center or at the edge. Either way, you can create interesting images. And doing this can lead to spectacular results.

4. Experiment with Lighting

There are a number of ways in which you can use light in your portraits. Side-lighting creates mood, backlighting and silhouetting the subject to conceal their features is influential.

5. Shoot Candidly

There are people who don’t look good in posed shots. So switch to a candid approach. Either make them do something they really love or play paparazzi to them! This particularly works when photographing children.

top ten portrait tips

“US Navy Tech” captured by Scott A. Pope (Click Image to See More From Scott A. Pope)

6. Move Your Subject Out of Their Comfort Zone

Make him do something funny and freaky, like jumping. These unusual shots will be amazing and will offer something unique.

7. Introduce a Prop

Adding a prop enhances your shot by generating a point of interest. Introduce something that gives a sense of depth to the subject, which otherwise they wouldn’t have had.

8. Get Close Up

Photographing the subject’s hands, eyes, mouth, or even just their lower body can lead the viewer into imagination. Sometimes the excluded part says more than what is actually included.

9. Obscure Part of Your Subject

Instead of zooming in on one particular portion, mask parts of your subject’s face or body. This can be done with clothing, objects, their hands, or just by framing a part of them out of the image. This way the viewer’s attention is focused on parts of the subject that you want to highlight.

10. Take a Series of Shots

Shoot more than one shot at a time, by switching your camera into ‘burst’ or ‘continuous shooting’ mode. This way you can produce a series of images which can be presented together instead of just a single image.

portrait photo

“Deira II” captured by Jan Michael Vincent V Castillo (Click Image to See More From Jan Michael Vincent V Castillo)

These are the top 10 tips when shooting portrait photography. Be creative and come up with your own. The creative photographic process is a reward in and of itself.

About the Author:
Kevin Markson discusses Riverside photography and other subjects concerning the Inland Empire region of Southern California.

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One response to “Top 10 Portrait Photography Tips”

  1. Kyle Wayne says:

    I’m glad you talked about how there are many different ways to use lighting to your advantage in a photo. My sister really wants to hire a portrait photographer to get some pictures taken before her wedding. I think I will talk to her about finding a professional who is good with lighting.

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