Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Portrait Photography Tips

They say eyes are the window to the soul and they can certainly help convey emotion and set the scene of your portrait shots. Good portrait photographers are highly sought after - especially for special events like graduations, engagements and weddings.  Some of your portrait photography success will be attributed to luck, but here are some points to get you started on the right foot:

Plan ahead - inspect your surroundings and plan your shot before you set up your equipment. For close-ups and head shots you'll want a plain background to shoot against. Meanwhile, look for a simple but engaging setting for full length poses.

Consider the equipment - not all digital cameras are the same and the right equipment is key. For studio set ups, experts recommend the rule of 3 point lighting for portrait photography (key light, fill light and rim light). Consider which camera lenses you use - fast lenses and medium telephoto lenses are usually recommended for portrait shots as they allow enough depth of field in the shot to draw more attention to your subject matter. Canon also has an exclusive line of lenses that are specially designed to take portraits.

Give good direction - as a photographer, you'll be expected to pose your model and present them in the best light. Put your models in positions that look natural and are flattering. Do what you can to hide any imperfections - for example, you can try to minimise the appearance of a large nose by slightly tilting the chin upwards. Pose group shots to convey the relationships between the subjects and encourage children to interact with each other and the camera.

Make your subjects comfortable - Build a good rapport with your subjects and engage them in conversation - it'll help them relax and give your photos a more natural look and feel. This is especially important when you're not working with a professional model as people often feel nervous about having their picture taken. Describe the shots you're planning before you take them and be prepared to alter your plans if the individual feels uncomfortable with the concept.

Personality - while the photographer is in control of the elements of the shot such as lighting, framing and background, the subject is in control of the photo. You will want to make sure that your shot has a bit of personality - this can come through in the subject's face or how you pose them. Meanwhile, if you don't have access to a studio, consider environmental portraits that are taken in the subject's natural surroundings such as the home. They can convey a lot about the person's personality and tell an interesting story.

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