Portrait Photography Tips and Methods

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Portrait Photography Tips and Methods Powered By Docstoc
					by: Richard Schneider

Portrait is defined as, A likeness of a person, especially one showing the face, that is created by a
painter or photographer, for example. In the area of portrait photography there are some
guidelines that you should consider when you go to take photos of people.

The different types of portraits are: close-ups, facial shots, upper body shots or environmental
portraits. Environmental portraits are where you focus on the subject and on their surroundings
that provide more character to the subject.

When people have a camera in their face it usually makes them nervous and they will try to put
on a face that does not portray who they really are. The real skill to portrait photography is trying
to capture photos when the subjects are comfortable and not worried about a camera.

Many professional photographers try to capture their subjects true essence by using tricks. One
example of this is counting to three so the subject prepares and then while they are relaxing after
taking a planned photo the photographer will snap a few more unplanned photos. In most cases
the subject wont even know that more than one photo was taken but its usually the photos that
the subject wasnt expecting that capture their true essence.

Another more common strategy professionals use is to tell funny jokes that make their subjects
genuinely laugh or smile. Im sure that you have probably experienced something like this


These usually have the subjects shoulders and head or less. They are framed around the face.
These are the most common and best at capturing expressions and glamour shots. For these it is
very important to have the light coming from a good angle. To accent wrinkles or small details
you should have the light coming from the side or from the top. To create flattering pictures you
should choose a cloudy day or try to create diffused light so there are hardly any shadows. Also
make sure the subject is brighter than the background to reduce distraction.

For close-up portraits you should use a wide aperture (low f/stop) to make the background out of
focus and therefore less of a distraction. Professionals commonly use a fixed telephoto lens thats
90 mm or higher for portraits in order to de-emphasize the subjects nose or any other unflattering
feature. It works because at that distance the nose or any other feature does not seem closer to the
camera than the rest of the face.


These are easier to capture because the subject is probably more relaxed because its less
personal. These include a little more of the background than close-ups. These are commonly
used for both single subjects and multiple subjects. This is the kind of portrait used to mark
occasions such as graduation, yearbook, birthdays and other parties. The ideal lens would be
about a 90 mm fixed telephoto or more wide angle depending on how many subjects there are.

These are the portraits that let you into the life of a subject. They might include the whole subject
in a scenario or the subject participating in some hobby that they enjoy. These are best for telling
a story to the viewer about the subject. They are almost always used by photojournalists to look
into the lives of interesting people. They also make great Black and White pictures.

Use this information to develop what kind of portrait style you would like to take, and then
practice it before dealing with any serious clients.

This article was posted on August 14, 2005