Top Portrait Photography Tips
Portrait photography may be one of the most common forms of photography, but it’s certainly not one of the easiest. Capturing an individual or group up close is an intimate experience and is a hard craft to perfect.
When you’re focusing your photography efforts on one particular area, there’s often little room to play around with adding in larger landscapes or other elements, due to the nature portraiture takes.
To help you on your quest to portrait perfection, the experts at USB4Photographers are on hand with their advice.
Plan, Plan, Plan
Planning equals perfection. Rushing around without any idea of what you want your final outcome to be will leave your photoshoots feeling frantic and your photos lacklustre. A little planning can go a long way in making shoots run smoothly, and leave you with far better results.
Scour Clickasnap for photography inspiration or look back through your portfolio to see if there’s anything you wish you’d captured differently or that sparks a train of thought. Having an idea of the kind of images you want to capture, along with preparing your equipment the day before can help you to feel a lot more organised on shoot day.
Unless they’re a professional model, getting your subjects to stand or sit still without moving or flinching an inch is one of the hardest parts of the job. It’s in people’s nature to fidget and move around, especially when they aren’t in their comfort zone.
To help minimise the amount of photos ruined by a blink or an awkward smile, increase your shutter speed to avoid these problems and reduce blurring. Keep a wide aperture and increase your ISO from ISO100 to ISO400 in normal conditions.
Create Creative Compositions
The portraits you capture will always be different to the next portrait photographer you meet, so take the time to play around with different photo compositions when you’re starting out until you find your image style.
Don’t be lazy with your compositions, it can take a while at first to find the kind of compositions you want. However, once you’ve found and developed your personal style, it can then become a lot easier to take photographs and will allow you to build up a body of work which has a running theme throughout.
Use a Reflector
Lighting can be a photographer’s biggest pain; it’s either too dark or too bright. Investing in a light reflector can allow you to fill in unwanted shadows and bounce the light where you want it in your image.
The tone of your reflector will determine the light it casts onto your subjects. A white reflector is the most natural, gold will warm up the image, whereas silver will help to brighten. If you don’t want to invest, then you can get creative with large sheets of white card and tin foil. Or, if cash is available, invest in a flash.
If something isn’t working, then don’t be afraid to switch up your angles. You may not even need to get your models to switch poses, it can be as simple as moving the position you are shooting from to change the frame fill or allow you to get a different perspective.
Taking a photo of the same pose from different angles will mean you’ve got every base covered. There’s nothing worse than getting to the editing stage and thinking you could have done something differently, or wish you had just one more shot to play around with.
Frame the Image
Your photography style, will determine how your images look. You may choose to go for a simplistic style and focus solely on the subject you are photographing, or you may want to fill the frame around them with something else.
Whatever style you choose, don’t be afraid to frame your image. It could be framed with a blurred or plain background or you may choose to frame your model at the centre of the image with lots of scenery still in focus around them.
Display Your Photos
Once you’ve captured and edited your photos, you then need to think about how you display them when handing them over to clients or including them in your portfolio.
You can either display them in a photo album, or keep it digital and send them on a USB stick. You can customise these with your logo or the brand or models name. Alternatively, a photo box allows you print off a few different photos and keep them stored in a stylish box.
Whether you’re an amateur or professional, keeping in mind these portraiture tips will help your photographs to shine. Who knows, you may end up as the next Annie Leibovitz.