What are the factors that influence the outcome of a portrait and distinguish between ordinary and extraordinary? Don’t get me wrong, there absolutely nothing wrong with the classic and conventional portraits that follow the rules. There are amazing portraits, though, that just stand out above the rest.
Sometimes, the most stunning portraits are the ones that don’t conform to the traditional rules. With a few clever portrait photography tips, you can create photographs that rival those by the most talented artistic photographers.
The direction of your subject’s gaze can have dramatic effects on the portrait. Having your subject focus on something outside the view of the camera can create a very candid and intriguing photograph. You can create a story within the image by focusing your subject’s attention on something within the frame, such as another person or an object.
Candid shots look natural and can often be more flattering. Instead of having the subject pose, shoot them reacting normally to situations. Candid shots especially work well when photographing children. Black and white portrait photography is another method that adds elegance and drama to photographs while at the same time concealing minor imperfections like blemishes and skin discoloration.
Portrait Photography Tips to Conceal Subjects’ Imperfections
There are several tricks you can use to help correct issues with the subjects of your portraits. If the subject has a round or fat face, try posing them three-fourths to the camera, using short lighting, and slightly raising the camera angle. Pose models with thin faces facing the camera.
If your subject has deep lines or wrinkles, try using softer, frontal lighting. Sometimes scars and blemishes can be concealed by repositioning the subject to shadow the problem areas. When blinking is a problem, try to time your shots to right after the subject blinks. You can compensate for deep set eyes by directing light into the eyes.
A bigger nose can be obscured by posing nose straight into lens or raising the chin, whereas a small nose should be positioned at an angle to the camera. Multiple chins can be concealed by having the subject lean their head toward the camera and stretching their neck.
There are several portrait photography tips to stop the glare of eye glasses. You can shoot the photographs with empty frames, removing the glass element all together, position the glasses away from the light, or bounce the lights off of the ceiling instead of shining directly on the subject.
When your subject has different sized eyes, you can either create an evening effect by having them turn the largest eye away or shadow the smaller eye while the larger one is turned closer to the camera. By using a higher camera angle or a three-fourths pose, you can diminish the appearance of a subject’s square jaw.
These are only a few tips for portrait photography. There are countless other methods that are effective in both adding drama to your images and hiding imperfections. Have fun with your camera, experiment and perhaps you can come up with some portrait photography tips of your own.