All budding photographers, as well as those who have been shooting for a while, are all looking for the same thing. They want to take stunning photos that capture the “wow” factor. It’s not that easy, because beauty is in the eye of the beholder. However, it is not impossible and instead of following rules, sometimes it is necessary to break them. Be random and boldly follow your instincts to find that special image that makes everyone stop and grab attention.
1. Change Perspective – Almost all portraits are taken with the camera at eye level. Change perspective by changing the shooting angle. Soar high above your subject for effect. From this perspective, you might see an even more interesting aspect. Experiment with your composition.
2. Play with eyes – The eye contact or the direction of the eyes strongly influences the effect of the portrait. Looking directly at the camera isn’t always the most interesting way to photograph someone. It can be more intriguing to have the subject look to the side and make those watching the shot wonder what’s there, off-camera, unseen. But be careful how you do this, because pulling the viewer’s gaze sideways will also distract them from your subject.
3. Stay focused within the frame – In other words, have your subject hold an object, e.g. a woman holding a baby or a child holding a toy to keep the viewer’s eyes within the frame and on the subjects. It creates a second point of interest and helps create a story within the framework with the subject.
4. Composition Rules – Composition rules as outlined in the portrait photography tips must be followed and broken. It’s great to know and apply the rules, but when you stretch them or push the outer limits, portraiture becomes more interesting. Learn the rules, become comfortable with them, and then learn to break them for a more eye-catching result.
5. Experiment with lighting – The possibilities with lighting are endless. You are only hampered by your imagination and ability to be creative. There is no good and bad. So go ahead and play with the lighting. You might surprise yourself. Side light, back light, silhouette, the possibilities are endless.
6. Move Subject – Interesting portraits are created when you take the subject out of their comfort zone. Make them move. Put them in clothing or in an environment where you wouldn’t normally find them. Surround them with stuff that says who they are, but make them respond differently. For example, in an office, get her dressed in business attire but have her jumping up and down or reading a book upside down. Be creative again.
7. Don’t stage the photo – Taking candid shots is better than posing the subject. People, and especially children, tend to tense up and hide rather than reveal their personality when the picture is being staged and they have to pose. Photograph your subjects at work or children at play. Try to catch them as they naturally react to their surroundings.
8. Use of Props – Enhance your shot by creating another point of interest with a prop. For example, if you’re photographing a doctor, have them wear a stethoscope or hold a skull. Make sure the prop doesn’t dominate the picture, let it be part of the picture and tell part of the story.
9. A Part of the Whole – For example, try to focus on a part of the whole, instead of photographing your subject’s head and shoulders, snap a photo or two of their hands or back, or maybe even a shoulder with a special tattoo, showing that Face keep an eye on shadows. Be dramatic and bold. Sometimes what’s left out of the shot is just as important as what’s left in.
10. Variation on a Theme – It also works well to cover up your subject to focus on a specific aspect. In other words, wrap a woman in a scarf, leaving only her eyes visible and facing the camera. The scarf may be adjustable to fit the subject’s eyes, making for a dramatic color statement.
The possibilities for creative and dramatic shots are limited only by your ability to think outside the box. Know the rules, know how to implement them, and then learn how to break them for more creative effect. Finally, take a series of shots…not just one…shoot often and quickly…sometimes to get what you want.
I hope you found these portrait photography tips helpful.