Many photographers view portraiture as one of the most challenging styles of photography. The intricate art of capturing people and their personalities requires years of study and practical experience. Of course, that doesn't mean there aren't a few things you can implement into your photo routine that will help push your portraiture to the next level. Here are a few hints on how to create striking portraits with minimal experience and no fancy equipment.
Go for Candid
There is no shortage of photographs that feature a smiling subject looking directly down the lens. Photographs like this are nice but they don't let your subject express their true personality. Candid photography is all about taking your subject's photo when they aren't paying attention to the camera. This method is becoming very popular at weddings and special events, and will give your portraiture stunning honesty. What's more interesting - a photograph of a mother staring at a camera, or one of her singing a song to her child
Hide Your Subject?
Another effective portrait technique is to partially cover up your subject for a more mysterious look. This technique will let you draw attention to certain features like eyes, mouth or hands while leaving a sense of curiosity with what's being hidden. Additionally, this is a great opportunity to play with color. Consider using a brightly colored object like a scarf or a hat and see how one prop can give your portrait a whole new look.
Go Somewhere Else
Instead of taking those boring "sitting in a chair" or "looking out the window" portraits we've all seen before, bring your subject into strange and fun environments and work with them to use what's around you. A great example here would be engagement photographs that feature the couple engaging in a fun activity together, like sitting on a playground see-saw. Focus on thinking differently at every chance you have.
Use Light to Your Advantage
If you're trying to make your subject look natural, then even lighting is the best type of lighting to use for portraiture. However, this in no way means there is no other way to light a subject. Try using darkness in your images by only lighting part of your subject's face or casting a pattern of shadows over them. Things like this can make a big difference in creating wonderful portraits and you can usually take them just by using some ingenuity and a few desk lamps.
Capture Their Personality
Have a conversation with your subject before you shoot and try to get a bearing on "who" they are and what they're interested in. If you know a little about your subjects, this can help you create a portrait that better reflects your subject's real personality and can help put your subject at ease. By knowing what your subject likes or enjoys, try using related types of props and incorporate them into your photo shoot.
Your first responsibility in portraiture is to always create photographs that show "who" a person is as well as what they look like. Shooting portraits can be challenging at first but by using these tips you'll be sure to start taking portraits that your subjects will love. And don't forget to always clearly understand the expectations for the photo shoot so both you and your subject will be happy with the final images. If you take portraits and try to keep it fun and creative you'll always turn out with some good shots.
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Autumn Lockwood is a writer for Your Picture Frames. Shop online and see our selection of vintage picture frames in a wide variety of colors and sizes. Visit our website and see our exquisite vintage picture frames now or call 1-800-780-0699.
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