Portrait photography can be one of the most difficult things to do as a photographer. We want to highlight our models \ subjects in the best light possible (literally). Often times the photographer has to perform to get the subject to display a full range of emotions. From pictures of joy to portraits that portray serious emotions, it is up to the photographer to not only capture the moment but also create it.
Here are a few photography tips that will help you take better portraits:
Get It Right in Camera
These days almost all photography is shot with digital cameras. This gives the photographer more creative control on the back end (post-processing). This does not absolve us from taking bad photographs and trying to fix them later. Garbage in is garbage out and trying to change an expression in Photoshop is a Pandora's Box that should never be opened.
Consider Black and White Photography
Black and white photographs can offer very striking results. It is often better to use this for portraits that are serious in nature.
Camera Lens Choice is Crucial
There is a general rule in photographing a person, nothing below a 50mm lens. A wide-angle lens should rarely be used, or if ever, when photographing a person. The reason, wide-angle lenses distort the face and body. This is less than flattering, and if a photographer does not use a wide-angle lens properly, the results are terrible.
Exceptions would be groups and editorial photographs. Nail the photo. Everything has to be straight or the image is not usable.
Better Lighting Equals Better Results
Understanding lighting in portrait photography is a necessity. A well-lit portrait can be amazing a poorly lit one is terrible. Shadows should be controlled and look natural. Whether the photographer is using strobes or natural lighting it is best to observe lighting angles and at minimum use a reflector to fill in harsh shadows if present.
For more information on photographic lighting / strobe lighting check out 5 Easy Tips to Master Photographic Lighting
Give The Subject Feedback
Those little details in clothing such as wrinkles and many more I shouldn't have to mention can add up to an unflattering photograph. Never be afraid to give a subject feedback, but of course, we want to do it in the right way.
Composition, Composition, Composition
The say as a photographer we learn composition then throw it out the window. It is true, but, to be a great photographer we need to understand the basics. Then we can apply those tools in any manner we choose.
I really recommend checking out this article on composition by Wikipedia. It can be a lot to process, but it is worth taking the time.
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