Check out our top tips for nailing portrait photography basics and enhancing your pictures.We all enjoy snapping away with our digital cameras and taking portraits of friends and partners.
Unfortunately, although portraits or head and shoulders photos sound easy enough to take, quite often the results aren’t great.
You either get too close, overcompensate and end up too far away, or heads and other body parts are mysteriously missing from your shot. Let’s face it we’ve all been there.
With a digital camera the problem of missing heads shouldn’t be too difficult to solve. Always use the LCD screen to help compose the shot. Ensure everything you want to capture is centred in the screen. The photo produced will be exactly as you see it in the LCD screen.
Unless you are trying to take a professional style close up portrait, don’t worry about the background. In fact you should use the background to produce a really interesting shot. I’m sure the person whose portrait you are taking is very interesting in their own right, but backgrounds can enhance the shot and add context. Backgrounds tell a tale about that person and their environment.
Posing vs natural
Don’t worry about ‘posing’ your portraits. Off the cuff or spur of the moment photographs can be the best. Of course, if it doesn’t work out and you find the subject had already wandered out of shot when you pressed the shutter button then don’t worry. Just delete the picture and move on.
Use your space
Use every bit of space in your shot. This is one the most important portrait photography basics. With either posed or spontaneous shots, fill the frame and use every available bit of space. Everything in the photo should add something to the portrait.
Another basic factor to consider when taking your portraits is the lighting. Most of us will I suspect be taking the majority of our portraits outdoors in the daylight so lighting won’t really be a consideration.
But, if you are taking the photos indoors than there some things you need to think about. If there is natural light coming through a window it can be used to disseminate the shot by adding some nice gentle shadows. Be careful though, if the light is too bright the shadows will too strong though, if the portrait is a posed one, you could use white card to reflect the shadows.
Finally, when taking a portrait remember to focus on the eyes. They are a person’s most important, and revealing, feature. If you take anything away from our portrait photography basics, remember to focus on the eyes.