Portrait photography is a form of photography that is focused on humans and animals (pets) as their subject. Now, portrait photography has become so popular that many view it as a distinct art form. With the raise of social media usage photographers are now focusing even more on advancing the list of their portrait photography techniques.
How to Capture the Best Portrait Photographs?
Some might argue that the same old formula works best for portraits while others contend that the numerous new techniques should be experimented with. Despite taking new poses, the portrait photographs can seem indistinct from the thousands of others, especially when you use the same angles and compositions for every picture.
In this article, you will learn some of the oldest but most productive and the latest and extremely effective tips and tricks to click the perfect portrait photograph every single time.
Top 9 Portrait Photography Techniques
Let’s take a look at the top 9 techniques for amazing portraits by our expert photographers.
1 – Use longer lens for portrait photography
To make portraits more interesting, our photography experts suggest using an 85mm or 200mm lens. These lenses help to create remarkable image compression, which is not possible with 50mm lenses. The image compression highlights the better aspects of the subject, with less feature distortion. Also, longer lenses help create dramatic effects, such as bokeh too.
2 – Opt for off-camera flash
Our experts advise against using camera-mounted flashlights, as these never distinguish features much when the subject clicked straight on. However, using off-camera flash, especially focused from the side, helps to highlight their facial features with a perfect play of light and shadow.
3 – Attempt different angles
Photographs taken at eye-level are the most common. To make your portrait photographs more distinguished and amazing, try to find a different angle. Our experts suggest trying to shoot from above or below eye-level. This helps to bring a remarkable improvement in the portrait photography technique. This trick is most useful when photographing subjects who are too short or large as it helps highlight their best assets.
4 – Flash is useful outdoor too
Clicking a portrait outdoors, with a clear, sunny, mid-noon sky, is a difficult task. However, you can reduce the harsh effects of the sun with a simple solution, as a couple of Speedlites focused on a different angle on the subject.
This technique is most effective to click portrait photographs in an interesting, outdoor environment. This technique helps to under-expose the sky while highlighting the subject.
5 – Search for reflections and silhouettes
Try to look for reflective surfaces and opportunities where the subject’s silhouette can be clearly distinguished. This technique helps to add to the visual appeal and depth of the portrait photograph. To take sensational silhouette photographs, you can choose to keep a strong light source as the background (windows in day-time work too). For reflections, there are several opportunities to get creative. You can find multiple reflective surfaces, such as granite walls, puddles or glass.
6 – Back-lit backgrounds are best
Training and practice will help you to determine a great light source in any setting. Once you master this technique, you will be able to take amazing portrait photographs.
Lighting is the basis of photography. Using different light sources, such as the sun, a light bulb or a window can help create impressive edge light, such as rim light or hair light. To take awesome back-lit portraits, simply place the subject between the camera and light source. Rim lighting effect sharpens the dimensions of the photograph by distinguishing between the subject and background noticeably.
7 – Sun as a source of light
Normally, photographers tend to avoid clicking portrait photographs in sunny environments lest the image is ruined by over-exposure. However, the sun can be used as an ideal light source to capture spotlighted photographs of your subject. Simply, try to expose the areas in the immediate vicinity of the subject and this will help to darken the background and draw attention to your subject.
8 – Click through things
You can use certain objects within the foreground to your advantage. Clicking photographs through gaps in leaves/flowers or an abstract object, such as household items can help to create impressive portrait photographs easily.
9 – Tint the Speedlite
Using CTB (Blue) or CTO (Orange) gels to the Speedlite helps to drastically improve the tone of the portrait photograph. This technique is most advised for settings with dark or very blue sky. The CTB gel can help warm up the background while the CTO gel can mimic sunlight in dreary, overcast weather.
The “selfie” is not a new thing but has been around since the dawn of photography itself and it’s considered a type of portrait. Louis Daguerre, the inventor of the daguerreotype, is credited with clicking the first “selfie” when he captured his self-portrait in 1839.
Professional and amateur photographers can remarkably improve their portrait-clicking abilities using these incredibly easy and effective 9 portrait photography techniques for amazing portraits.