Portrait Photography Technique

"Portrait photography technique is an art born by realizing those means by which subjects give themselves to the camera"

The most popular images taken today involve people as subject matter and represent the most common type of photography. The ways in which those subjects are captured vary depending upon the experience and portrait photography technique adopted. To ensure that the person or group of people have your attention social engagement is the trigger to capturing them in their most natural state. Once this has been achieved the photographer has to decide how they would best be reflected in the end result.

Understanding the nature of the subject guides how the demeanor comes over to the viewer. This may be as a serious, melancholy or happy portrait and depends upon the success of the shooter and influence upon the perception of the audience. Having established this idea the photographer can then turn his or her attention to the technique, by which the image tells a story and stands on its own merits.

Making the Best Out of Portrait Photography Techniques

Composition frames the subject so balance across the image concentrates the viewer’s eyes foremost to the subject. Playing with different angles from which the image is taken allows the photographer to find the subject’s best side. All the while avoiding background shapes and objects that could possibly take away from the real purpose of the photograph.

By being close either physically or with a longer lens may capture special detail or features, while avoiding the extraneous clutter in the background. The subject will feel at ease by being part of the action. So have them pose under guidance and play with variations so that they become at ease. Let them have fun by acting out even if it appears unusual. They may also be holding something that you can use as a prop to carry the story. If it involves something that they rule their life by, let them include it so the image becomes casual and not set up. This will catch the culture and essence of who they are and why they are unique.

Should they enjoy movement then capitalize from it and don’t stifle their fun. Slow shutter speeds or panning while they act out may produce inspiring results! But if they don’t want to appear happy or playful then go with the flow, as it will usually define whom they really are. Using shadows in more serious or melancholy situations can portray their feelings, just as more colorful and vivid techniques will accomplish the same for high-spirited individuals or groups.

Try back lighting the subject but remember that fill-in flash or reflectors may be needed to retain detail in shadow areas. This prevents reliance on software, which has certain limitations in extreme lighting situations. Although perhaps unintentional these types of lighting conditions can result in burnt out or dark images, otherwise known as over or under exposure.

It is usually better to start with a well-exposed image and make changes after the fact in Photoshop or similar software. This is where knowledge of proper portrait photography technique is so helpful. To compliment these practical shooting tips, after effects can be applied to further characterize the image.

It is worth becoming proficient therefore with software so that texture, canvas or other tools can contribute to a particular style in mind. For the ambitious, a multitude of abstract applications or montages can turn an otherwise ordinary portrait into a wild masterpiece!

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