Portrait photography is the art of capturing the inherent character of your subject within a photograph. Great portrait photography is a result of combining the right technique with an artist’s expression.
Technique: Using the correct camera settings, compositions, angles, lighting, backdrops, and poses.
Art: It’s about capturing a stunning and emotive portrait that evokes feelings in the viewers and captivates their attention.
1. Focus on the subject
The subject is the most important aspect of portrait photography. Making the subject comfortable with you is an essential factor for a successful portrait photography session. Take out time to connect with your client before the photoshoot and, if possible, meet up in person. It is best to get to know each other and let the subject know more about your style of photography and what exactly you will be looking for in the shoot. Discuss your ideas about the shoot with your subject and factor in her preferences and abilities in your plan.
2. Find the right location
The location you choose for the portrait shoot is going to be a significant influence on the final results. Shooting outdoors in natural light gives the best results but poses many challenges. You would need to plan according to the weather, time of the day, and changing lighting and environment conditions as the day progresses.
3. Getting the pose right
Figuring out the right portrait photography poses for your subject that portrays them in the most flattering way is always a new journey.
4. Take candid portrait photos
Getting subjects to pose can sometimes give less than optimal results. Some people are just not comfortable posing. This discomfort is particularly apparent in child portrait photography where posed portraiture images can come off as forced and unnatural.
5. Capture emotions and expressions
Artistic portrait photography is all about finding emotions and expressions in portrait pictures. Getting your subject to emote is easier said than done. Make sure that you avoid fake smiles and blank looks. A genuine sparkle in the eye, a faint smile, a confident expression – these are the recipes for creating portrait shots that will shine. Work with your subject and give them time to get into the zone. Forcing or hurrying this process will not work.
6. Learn how to use your camera
Portraiture photography, first and foremost, is about your artistic expression and technique, which takes a lot of practice to perfect. Once you start understanding the nuances of portrait photography, it’s time to invest in a good camera and lens.
7. Choosing the right lens for portrait photography
As with all photography, the camera lens is the most vital tool in catching the right shot. Again, there is no such thing as the best lens for portrait photography. It is up to you to decide which lens fits the scenario best. If you are going for a shot where the scenery or background is a crucial part of the picture, then it’s better to use a wide-angle lens.
8. The background matters
The focus in portraiture, as expected, is on the subject model. However, there are more intricacies than just that. Sometimes, an interesting background can add a lot of drama to the photograph and help your subject stand out.