Wednesday, 29 August 2012

7 Inspirational Portrait Photography Techniques


Make a nice soft feel to your portraits by overexposing the scene and blowing out highlights. Basically what you will be creating is a high key image which has certain advantages. A high key image is very appealing, has a rich; out of the world look to it and it makes small defects invisible. Making the picture look smooth especially skin.

Portrait Photography Techniques
Photo By Nick Atkins


Underexpose your shot by a stop or two to create a low key image with sharp contrast. It will have all the little details and tend to look hard. The eyes of the viewer will automatically travel to the lighter elements in the scene.

Portrait Photography Techniques
Photo By Collin Key

Back Light Your Subject

Back lighting you subject creates a sort of rim light around your subject which looks great. It also helps differentiate between your subject and your background. If overdone; your subject will only show as a silhouette (which works well in certain situations). Back lighting the hair in portrait photography was one technique professional photographers had been using since long. So if hair is important in your composition try back lighting.

Portrait Photography Techniques
Photo By Mexico Rosel

Play with Eye Contact

Eyes of your subject are the primary point of interest where your viewer’s eyes rest. The direction of your subjects eyes determine how your viewers connect with your subject. If in a portrait the subject is looking down the lens then it creates a direct connection between your subject and the viewer and this is the most commonly used method, but you could create some inspiring shots by playing with eye contact.

Make Your Subject Look Off Camera

You can create a feeling of anxiety / mystery by making your subject look at something that is not in field of view of your camera. When combined with a facial expression it makes the viewers wonder what exactly is your subject looking at and they immediately begin to process the expression and connect it with other elements in the scene; and try to figure out the object that is outside of the frame. This technique is useful to create the interest but the point is the interest is created in another mystery element and that takes the viewers attention away from your subject.

Portrait Photography Techniques
Photo By Michael Sharman

Looking Within the Frame

Narrate a story; have a little interaction going on in your frame by making your subject look at something or someone who is also in the frame. This creates a second point of interest in your shot. The relationship and interaction with your primary subject and your secondary element is what narrates the story. A child looking at an ice-cream; Teenager looking at a window display etc are examples of this photographic technique.

Portrait Photography Techniques
Photo By Martin Gommel

Get Serious

Consider bringing out various emotions from your subject. Not all portraits you take need to have smiling faces in them. Do experiment with various other emotions, ask your subject to get emotions like sad, angry, gloomy, depressed, determined, focused etc. Once you find which emotions better suits your subject and the general feel of the image try variations of it.

Portrait Photography Techniques
Photo By Paulo Alegria

Get Close

Reconsider what the main focus of y our image will be, or how much of your subject you wish to include in your frame. Cropping out certain parts naturally draws more attention to the one’s which are included in your frame and the rest is left to the viewer’s imagination. Consider photographing just one feature of your subject as your central theme. For example hands, eyes, mouth, legs etc.

Portrait Photography Techniques
Photo By Sara Eloise Rousseau

Hide Part of your Subject

Use this technique when you wish to focus the attention of your viewer to certain parts of your subject. Focus on the main element which you wish to covey and cover the rest. You could use your subject’s hands, cropped framing, various props, or clothing to achieve this. What essentially happens is your viewers attention will be focused on the features you wish to convey and they will be forced to imagine and fill in those parts which are not visible creating mystery.

Portrait Photography Techniques
Photo By Leah Makin

In the next article we will discuss about Photography - Portrait Photography - How Do You Approach Strangers For Stock Photography?

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