Ten Tips to Amazing Portraits
15 Aug 2007
1. Make sure the lighting is good:
Though this may seem obvious, you don't want an awkward shadows on the person's face, and it will also help you choose your mood.
2. Help your model relax:
To take good portraits, the model's face should look natural and unforced. Communicate with the model and try to give examples of the emotion you want them to portray.
3. Try going in for a close crop:
Often the strongest portraits are very close in. Cutting out all the extra background gives the photograph a striking effect and help show emotion.
4. Make sure there is variation.
Whether in color, shade, lighting, or texture, make sure their is variation to attract the eye. Different patterns in the background are very interesting for the viewer.
5. Go for different angles.
Something as simple as changing the angle can make the photo completely different from the next. Try standing from a chair and shooting from above, or even getting on the floor and laying the camera on the ground. Study what your model looks like from these different angles and choose what looks best--it will be different for each individual.
6. Have a theme in mind:
When you have a story, theme, or message in the back of your mind, it will be easier to choose what settings, colors, and props you want to use.
7. Try mixing up the settings.
Even if you're in your yard, try to make your setting look varied--no one likes to look at a hundred almost identical shots. Switching the setting, even by going from the wall to the sandbox or to the pool, will give you fresh ideas when you're stuck for something interesting.
8. Take photos of people close to you.
Simple, but true--the better you know a person, the more they will cooperate and the more succesful your shots will be. By knowing their ins and outs you can tell which angles, colors, and moods they best communicate.
9. Click sparingly:
Don't take 100 shots of the same pose. Try an exercise where you can only take ten photos, switching everything with each shot. This will teach you to make your photos unique.
10. Start with simple poses for warm-up, then move on to the more complicated things:
during this time, you can do the majority of your model-communication and let the model feel at ease with the lens. Test the lighting, the color--make sure it feels right.
Though no one can teach you how to be a good photographer, hopefully these tips have gotten you inspired and have given you a new perspective behind the camera!