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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|Photo By Martin Gommel|
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.
|Photo By Paulo Alegria|
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.
|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.
|Photo By Leah Makin|
- Portrait Photography Cropping Cheat Sheet
- Pro Tips for Great Group Photos - The Trick to Keeping People from Blinking
- Professional Portrait Photography Composition Tip – Crop off The Top of Your Subject's Head
- Pro Tip for Better Portraits – The Issue of Leaving Too Much HeadRoom
- Pro Tip for Great Outdoor Portraits