Many photographers view portraiture as one of the most challenging styles of photography. Getting great pictures of people showing their true personality takes lots of practice. Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few things you can implement into your photo routine that will help push your portraiture to the next level. Here are a few hints on how to create striking portraits with minimal experience and no fancy equipment.
Go for Candid
There is no shortage of photographs that feature a smiling subject looking directly down the lens. Images like this have their place, but they do little to convey “who” a person really is. Candid photography is the art of capturing your subject when they aren’t paying attention. Taking candid photos is becoming increasingly more popular at weddings and other events because they better reflect the actual day. What’s more captivating – a picture of a mother and baby staring at a camera or a mother singing to her child
Hide Your Subject?
Another good portrait tip is to partially obscure or cover your subject for a more interesting image. This will allow you to draw more attention to certain features (hands, eyes, mouth) while forcing the viewer to imagine what’s missing. Additionally, this is a great opportunity to play with color. Try giving your subject a brightly colored scarf and see how one prop can open up a world of creativity.
Get Out of the Studio
Instead of taking a portrait in a traditional studio setting, consider taking your subject to somewhere that relates to them. For example, for an engagement photo take the couple to a place that they like to spend time together like the park or the beach. Think outside of the box at every opportunity.
Get Creative With Light
Even lighting is usually best for portraiture if you’re trying to make the subject look natural. However, this in no way means there is no other way to light a subject. Play with the lighting and try things like only lighting part of your subject or casting shadows on them to see what it will do. Using light in different ways can do a lot in creating unique and memorable portraits just by using simple things like a table lamp or floor lamp.
Capture Their Personality
Talk with your subject beforehand and try to strike up a conversation so you know a little more about them. By knowing a little about them, then you can use this to help you get them feeling more comfortable so the portrait will tell a more accurate story about who they are and better reflect their true self. Once you know some things your subject likes, try picking up a couple of related props and letting the subject incorporate them into the shoot.
One of your primary roles as a photographer is to show “who” a person really is in addition to what they look like. Taking portraits can be tricky initially, but by using these tips you’ll be well on your way towards taking better portraits that your subjects will love. Do your best to understand your subject and their desires for the shoot, and don’t be afraid to bring up some fun ideas. Keep it fun and be creative and your sessions will always be successful.