Portrait photography: How to get out of the ordinary and achieve a pro composition?
Portrait photography: …
Portraits have flooded social media, thanks to increasingly smarter smartphones. However, you and I know that a portrait taken with a camera still has an incomparable result.
Often, we see a lot of portrait photos in harsh light and super sharp shadows or with a frame that does not favor the protagonist. For example, a portrait photo where the character performs the known lifelong poses is not exactly the best. Why not get out of the ordinary and opt for naturalness to achieve a more fun or irreverent expression of your protagonist?
How to avoid falling into these mistakes if you are just starting out in the world of photography? Knowing the basic principles of a good photographic portrait. Continue reading this note and discover how to achieve an unrepeatable challenge, just like a professional would.
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1. Worry about composition
A good photographic composition can make your portrait unrepeatable. This means that the success of your portrait largely depends on the composition. To achieve a pro composition, we advise you to practice these techniques:
Surely you’ve heard about this rule more than once, right? And you will continue to hear about it, because it turns out that it is a basic rule of photography. What does it consist of? When photographing your character, make an imaginary division of the frame, that is, divide it into two parallel vertical lines and two horizontal lines. What is the OBJETIVE? Have the grid intersections help you locate your model’s strengths or points of interest.
The law of the gaze
It is a classic of portrait photography. He proposes to give more space to the frame, to give greater prominence to the look of our character. What will you achieve with this technique? Naturalness and balance.
Take care of the background
It is not a technique, but a tip that will prevent your portrait from spoiling. Sometimes we care so much about the protagonist of the portrait that we neglect the background. Then we realize that an unknown person slipped into the photo or that there was a post behind the model. So before shooting, take a minute to look at the background you will be using.
2. Choose the type of frame
Defining how you are going to photograph your model is one of the first things you must solve before taking a portrait. We do not refer to the type of framing that you are going to use. An open frame in which the person’s face and body appear? Or a more closed frame where only his face stands out?
Take into account that no frame is better than the other. It all depends on what you want to express. For this, you must know the types of plans that exist:
– General shot: focuses on the face and body of the model.
– American shot: frames from head to knee. It is also known as the midplane or ¾.
– Medium shot open: framing from head to waist.
– Short medium shot: frames from head to chest height.
– Close-up: focuses on the model’s face.
– Extreme close-up: frame the model’s eyes. For example: if you want to highlight a person’s gaze, this is the correct shot.
Photo: Elle Hughes
3. The environment matters a lot
Where would you photograph a painter? In your art workshop or on the seashore? There is more than one possibility. Use the environment to convey that person’s personality.
You can choose the following:
– Photograph the character in an environment associated with the facet you want to highlight. For example: if it is a musician, a recording studio or a stage will be the right settings.
– Photograph the character in a different context. Sometimes it is advisable to get out of the ordinary.
– Make the portrait in a photographic studio. It is an option widely used by professional photographers.
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4. Open the diaphragm
A portrait photo with blur background is a favorite of many. But how to achieve it? The key is to open the diaphragm, that is, the part of the lens that regulates the amount of light that enters the camera. To do this, you must reduce the f / value of your lens and know that the aperture of the diaphragm is related to the depth of field (the amount of area in focus in the image)
Considering the above, it is important that you remember the following:
The greater the aperture of the diaphragm (f / low value), the smaller the depth of field, and conversely; the smaller the aperture aperture (f / high value), the greater the depth of field.
– Greater aperture of the diaphragm = less focused background
– Smaller aperture = more focused background
Now you know what to do to achieve a portrait with a blurred background.
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5. Natural light is better
If you have just started in the world of photography and want to achieve a good portrait photo, natural light will be your best ally. And what about the built-in flash on my camera? I can use it? Although it is common to use the front light of the camera, we recommend avoiding it. If you use it, you’ll get portraits in flat lighting, and we know that’s not what you’re looking for.
So, let’s go back to natural light. To take advantage of it, take into account the following:
– Moderately cloudy days are perfect for taking a portrait. Why? Because the light is not direct, and we owe this to the clouds, our natural filter.
– On the contrary, avoid sunny days. When there is a lot of sun, the light is hard and, therefore, the shadows are more pronounced.
– Use side lighting. Portray your character near a light source (it may be a window).
Photo: Elle Hughes
6. Forget about the poses
To achieve a good portrait, it is better to opt for naturalness. It is recommended that the character or model express himself as he is. If you opt for the known poses, don’t expect a great result.
Some tips to achieve naturalness in your portraits:
– It is important that the person to photograph feels comfortable and calm.
– Some people may take time to express themselves as they are. Therefore, it is important that you convey confidence.
– You can also use an object that brings out its funniest or most irreverent side.
– Search for emotions. If you know the person, try to express some emotion.
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7. Practice with casual portraits
Finally, a good way to practice portrait photography is to take casual portraits. Yes, we are talking about going outside and photographing strangers. Of course, remember to ask permission. Not everyone likes the idea of being casually photographed.
For example, mass events are ideal for capturing people in their most spontaneous state.
Photo: Boddhi Satva
Very well, once these recommendations have been read, it is time for you to put them into practice. Choose your protagonist, make a good composition, choose a good frame, open the diaphragm, avoid direct sunlight and make your model express itself naturally. And if you want to learn from the best photography experts, take a look at these courses. Let’s float!