There’s something so intimate and special about capturing a person’s face in a photograph. Perhaps it’s because most of us are camera-shy, or maybe it’s because there are few things more personal than someone’s visage. A portrait is the perfect opportunity to showcase the subject in an unguarded moment. It reveals their personality, quirks and interests without them having to say a word. But shooting great portraits can be challenging for even experienced photographers. If you have a passion for photography and love experimenting with new techniques and subjects, why not take your skills to the next level by shooting some amazing portraits? People are among the most popular subjects for portrait photographers, which means you won’t have to look too far if you want to practice your skills! However, before you rush off and snap away, here are ten tips that will help get you started on your journey as an aspiring portrait photographer…
Know your gear
Meaning you need to know how to use your camera like the back of your hand and more importantly, know all of the possible pitfalls. If you are shooting on a DSLR, understand how to use your shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and any other relevant settings. Mixing these up and not having any idea what you are doing will leave you with blurry, over-exposed, and completely unusable images. You don’t want to be shooting your subjects and be too busy fiddling with your settings to see that you accidentally forgot to turn on your flash and have a whole series of completely black photos! Always make sure that you have plenty of memory space in your camera, so you don’t miss a moment while you are busy deleting images that are too dark or too blurry. In fact, it might be a good idea to delete an image as soon as you see that it is bad, so you don’t get too bogged down with the thought of deleting a precious image.
Practice, practice, practice
You might think that shooting an old friend or family member is practicing, but it’s not. You need to approach these shoots as you would a paying client. You need to be mindful of your lighting, your composition, and your equipment. You also need to be self-aware about when your photos start to look repetitive. This means having the self-awareness to know when you are starting to shoot photos that look like the last ones you shot—not the best ones you ever shot. This is crucial because you need to know when your images start to look stale so you can break free and discover new and exciting ways to shoot portraits. You should also practice posing people at every opportunity. The best way to improve your posing skills is to practice. Take every opportunity you get to photograph people, whether it be friends, family, or even strangers. The more you practice, the easier it will be to identify what works and what doesn’t in a photograph.
Watch your lighting and composition
A lot of beginning portrait photographers focus on the subject and completely neglect their surroundings. This is a mistake, as the environment is just as important as the person in the frame. After all, why would you want to frame a perfect face in an unremarkable background? The most popular (and effective) way to light portraits is through the use of three lights: a key light, a fill light, and a background light. The key light is the main source of light that illuminates the subject’s face from the front. The fill light brightens up the shadows created by the key light, while the background light illuminates the area behind the subject. With these three lights, you can control the shadows, highlights, and mood of your image. In addition to controlling the lights, you also have control over the subjects’ placement within the frame. Composition is crucial to the success of any portrait, but especially those shot with a single subject.
Take the time to find the best angle
Most people are used to being photographed from above, which can lead to unflattering results. The best way to avoid this is to take your time and experiment with different angles. Try photographing your subject from a low angle, a high angle, and even a middle angle. This will help you determine the best angle for each person and each situation. The best way to get comfortable shooting at different angles is to practice at home and get used to the different perspectives. You can also ask your subject to move around and experiment with different poses. You don’t have to shoot every portrait from the same angle either. You can get creative and shoot from an angle that you don’t see people doing often. This can make your photos unique and beautiful!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your subject
Humans are visual creatures, so we respond better to images than words when it comes to learning and understanding new concepts. What this means is that people are much more likely to understand what you want them to do if you can show them an example of it. If you are struggling to get your subject to adopt a specific pose, don’t be afraid to ask them to pose for you. This will help you understand what you need to do and also give your subject an opportunity to get comfortable in front of the camera. If you don’t feel comfortable asking your subject to pose for you, then try repositioning them yourself. This will help you see what you need to do to get the best results and will also allow you to practice moving your subject around until you get it right.
Find a unique point of view
There are a lot of photographers who shoot portraits from the same point of view: above the subject. While this angle definitely has its place, it’s important to remember that there is no such thing as a single perfect point of view. Instead, you want to constantly be experimenting with new and different points of view. This will allow you to discover new and exciting ways of shooting portraits and will also help you build a unique portfolio with little effort. To do this, you need to start by experimenting with different subjects. Take photos of your friends, family, pets, and even strangers in the street. This will help you learn where you need to be to get the best results.
Experiment with different backgrounds and props
You don’t want every portrait in your portfolio to look exactly the same, so start experimenting with different backgrounds. This may seem silly at first, but it can truly transform the feel of your images. You don’t want every portrait in your portfolio to look the same, so start experimenting with different backgrounds. This may seem silly at first, but it can truly transform the feel of your images. You can even try changing the background of individual images. If you have a friend who is an amazing photographer, why not ask them if they would mind taking a few shots with different backgrounds and see what you like best? This will help you take your skills to the next level and create amazing and unique images that are truly one-of-a-kind.
A portrait is a great opportunity to showcase the subject in an unguarded moment. It reveals their personality, quirks and interests without them having to say a word. But shooting great portraits can be challenging for even experienced photographers. Start by knowing your gear, practicing often and watching your lighting and composition. Then, take the time to find the best angle and don’t be afraid to ask for help from your subject. Finally, experiment with different backgrounds and props to create unique images that are truly one-of-a-kind.