Portrait photography is a beautiful and engaging medium. Unlike other types of photography, portraits are singular in their ability to capture a broad range of human emotions and offer a glimpse into the human condition. That’s why here at BorrowFox, we have compiled 6 tips on how to take stunning portrait photographs.
Perspective and Eye Contact
Before you worry about the technical aspects of portrait photography, it is critical to think about what exactly you want to convey through your photographs. The most basic and effective way to change the tone of a portrait photograph is to think about how and why you want to capture your model in a specific way. For example, if you want to take a classic acting headshot, you will want the model to have direct eye contact, a smile, and a slightly tilted head. This perspective conveys a sense of intimacy and flatters the model in question. If you are looking to capture different emotions, consider changing the angles and the way in which the model interacts with the camera. For example, while a head on shot with the subject staring into the lens might elicit a sense of familiarity, a sideways shot that shows the model’s eyes averted might elicit a sense of mystery.
How you decide to light a portrait shot can drastically change the mood and emotional impact of the photograph. The amount of different ways you can play with light is nearly infinite, so a creative eye will serve you well. Split lighting, catch lighting, Rembrandt lighting, and butterfly lighting will all produce different effects. If you play around with different lighting kit and different angles, you will be sure to find something that suits your needs.
Take a lot of Photos
This tip is closely related to tip #1, but it is so important that it deserves its own section. Because portrait photography is about capturing a person’s emotions and personality, it is critical to take a lot of photos of your subject. If you let the model portray a range of emotions, and continue to snap photographs, you will be able to pick and choose in the editing booth which pose you like the most.
Using a smaller aperture is a good idea when taking portraits. You generally want to use a faster lens f/1.4 and f/2.8 are good bets. The faster lens puts more of a focus on the subject’s face and features while blurring the background. Additionally, wider lenses generally produce better portrait photographs.
Portraits are, of course, about capturing the face of a particular subject. However, the choice of the model’s background can be critical to the composition and beauty of a portrait photograph. A background can add context to the emotions that are on display. A background can also serve to focus all of the viewer’s attention on the subject. Whatever background you choose, make sure it’s a decision that is not made without thought. The key, as is mostly the case when it comes to taking the perfect picture, is to experiment.
Framing your subject in an interesting way can change make a good portrait photograph great. The rule of thirds is important to consider. In portrait photography, the rule of thirds is applied to the eye line. However, sticking to closely to the rule of thirds can quickly get you stuck in a rut. Consider different framing techniques in order to make your photographs unique.
With all of these tips in mind, your quest to take fantastic portrait photographs is well with in reach. With BorrowFox, all of the tools you need are inexpensive, and at your fingertips.