Portrait photography is a niche segment, which requires good understanding of both technical and aesthetic aspects of camera work. It aims to highlight human emotions or specific aspects and details of the subject. Creative execution of different elements of portrait photography, such as lighting and composition, can add to the flavor of the photograph.
Portrait Photography: Essential Tips
Here are some essential tips that include both the technical as well as creative aspects of portrait photography:
- Preproduction work: Complete your pre production work well in advance. In an indoor set up, pre-production work includes creating the set, arranging lights, working on camera angles and deciding on props. For an outdoor photo, pre-production work encompasses all the work required in the indoor shoot as well as selecting a location and seeking due approval from the local authorities.
- Relax your subject: The success of a portrait photography shoot entirely depends on the performance of the model. Extracting the best out of a model is an art and this skill improves with experience. A photographer should know how to train his models according to the requirements of the photo shoot. One of the best techniques is to relax your subject before and during the photo shoot. Initiate a conversation or discuss photographs with the subject to make him/her feel comfortable with the surroundings. Photographers sometimes also play music or create a casual environment to relax their subjects.
- Select the focus of the photograph: In a general portrait photo shoot, the focus remains on emotions and the style quotient. However, for a product-related portrait photo shoot, the focus shifts to the creative portrayal of that product. Understanding the fine line between two different motives of portrait photography is very essential for a successful career.
- The art of composition: The aesthetic sense of a photograph is revealed in the composition. One can follow set industry standards, such as ‘Rule of Thirds’, for a perfect image. However, an experienced photographer usually tends to exploit the rules to create a more exciting piece of art. You can experiment with medium close, close-up and big close-up compositions for good results.
Avoid excessive use of props while taking portrait photographs. Props tend to diffuse the focus of the image to secondary elements. Use low-key lighting for interesting results. It helps to highlight the focus of the image and enhance its appeal.