The first rule of success in portrait photography is to capture the positive side of the person you are taking. Capture them as happy, enthusiastic, and calm or generally displaying positive actions or moods then you will be well on your way to achieve sensational photos.
You can also create sensational portrait photos when the person is pensive, serious and concentrating. An example of this would be a musician playing his or her instrument; they may not be able to look at you and smile, but they are deep in concentration of something they love doing. It can still be a captivating photo. So posing becomes important too – more information on this article, tips for portrait photography and posing.
Importance of your Background in Portrait Photography
If you have been asked to take a persons photo and have complete creative control firstly think about the location. Your site is very important because your site becomes your background. If you don’t have a studio set up, you will need to focus and work with what you have already. You’ll need to make a list of locations that are easy to get to and that will be good for your portrait. You’ll need to think about what’s directly involved, such as other people, weather, location, time of day and the light you have to work with.
One thing to watch when taking someone’s portrait at an alternate location other than a studio is potentially distracting objects in your background. One thing to do is creatively include the surroundings. This is why it’s important to go to the location first and see what’s around and plan your shots.
Your background heavily impacts on your composition. You may love the idea of photographing a pensive and beautiful girl in a long evening dress in an industrial factory as a contrast for example, but that’s not going to be any good if you get the photos back and there is a big white crane in the background that totally ruins your composition.
In portrait photography, you’ll find sometimes that you are dealing with reasonably tightly (or closely) cropped composition. It’s important to remember that fact just because it’s a reasonably close composition some guidelines don’t apply. This means that the guideline of the rule of thirds still applies in even the closest of subjects. In this case your subject might be someone’s face up close. You’ll find that shadows and highlights add to your composition in ways you thought not possible. Shadows create lines and lines create composition. So always be mindful of the fact that closer doesn’t let you off the hook with composition.
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