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Portrait Photography

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008 by | Filed Under: Digital Photography

Portrait Photography

Although you may think so, portrait photography isn’t all that easy. There are several factors you need to keep in mind in order to make your images worthwhile. Here are some sure fire ways of jazzing up your portrait photos!

Go for Simplicity

Portrait photography demands you to stick to the subject at hand and not add anything else, either in the foreground or background. It has to be the subject in an environment where he or she feels comfortable. You also need to try to take pictures in natural light. If you’re indoors, don’t use too many artificial sources of light. Sometimes one or two sources are good enough for some great portrait photos.

Be Ready Beforehand

It’s important to study the scene before the subject arrives. That could be adjusting the lighting and camera mode or even taking some test shots to see if the output is what you have in mind. Avoid under and over exposure by taking as many shots as you can so that when the subject comes in, you’re not fiddling with your controls and wasting time.

Light Up the Background

When shooting outdoors, it’s great to have some backlighting. It could be a natural setting like sun rays streaming through the trees in the background or it could be artificial. Whatever the case may be, great backlighting adds depth and vivid colors to your portrait photos.

Don’t Shoot at Eye Level

Though it’s a common practice to shoot people at eye level, experts have another secret tucked away. It’s even better if you shoot portraits slightly below eye level. Not only will your subject look more real, but the picture will also seem much more flattering. That’s particularly true when you’re taking pictures up close. Whether the subject is standing or sitting, you can use this technique for maximum effect.

Follow the Eye

If your subject is looking in one direction, it’s best to take their side profile in such a manner where you leave empty space in the direction they’re facing. As a rule, if the person you’re photographing is looking in one direction, it’s best to place them on the opposite side of the frame. If the subject is looking in one direction and you photograph them without leaving any space on either side, the picture will look somewhat incomplete. But when you leave space where the subject is looking, it seems more natural.

Unusual Angles

Nothing beats experimentation! Some people look particularly good in some angles and not so good in others. So, it’s best to shoot at different angles to see which angle suits your subject the best. That means, you could try shooting low, very low or you could take the picture from high above the ground. Just know that you have options!

Face the Camera

Portrait photos fall into two categories: formal and informal. When taking formal portraits, it’s important to make the subject lean into the camera for a greater effect. Not only will that make it a more personal shot, but the subject will appear more friendly and interactive. You could also get your subject to lean back, but that has to be handled with care. Your picture should make it look like the subject is leaning back to laugh or that they’re feeling very self-satisfied. In no way should they look aloof, unattached or disinterested.

That’s all, folks! Now, go out and take some fantastic portrait photos. Have fun!

~ Zahid H. Javali

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