If you think that portrait photography is easy as the photographer and only have to take pictures of a posing subject, well, think again. Many photographers find doing portraiture one of the most challenging kinds of photography. Portrait photography is an intricate art of capturing people and their personalities into a portrait. Being reasonably good in the art of portraiture most often requires years of learning and practical experience.
If you are into portrait photography and you want to create striking and stunning portraiture, experimenting can help you find your own style. Even if you have little or no fancy equipment and only minimal experience, here are some things you can try:
Going For Candid
If you think that portraits are pictures that show the subject smiling and looking directly at the camera, you might be wrong. A new paradigm has emerged in recent years that give emphasis to capturing the subject candidly. The former is still the most widely accepted concept of portraiture but these kind of shoots do not allow the subjects to express their personalities. It is now becoming more popular to take candid photographs especially at weddings and other events because candid shots better reflect the mood of the event as well. Close your eyes and see which mental image is more captivating – a picture of a mother and child staring at a camera or a picture of a mother singing a lullaby to put her child to sleep? …Wait is that tear? (chuckle)
Covering It Up
When doing a portrait, you can try partially covering or obscuring your subject if you want a more interesting image. If you do this, you will draw more attention to certain features while allowing the imagination of the viewer to envisage what is missing. You can also couple this technique with use of color. You can try to see how a brightly colored scarf, for example, will look on the subject and how it may impact the overall effect of a portraiture.
Even lightning (for those with patience) is often times a good and dramatic choice when you want your subject to look natural in the portrait. However, there are also other means to light your subject to get the look you want to create. Play with lighting and experiment with whatever there is available to you. For example, you can try partly lighting or casting shadows on your subject and constantly checking see if it works for you.
Try Getting Out Of The Studio
Consider getting out and doing the photo shoot in a place that your subject can relate to. This is a good alternative to having the photo shoot in a traditional studio setting. If the portrait you are doing is of an engaged couple, for example, you can have the shoot in the place where they both love going to like the beach or a park. If you think outside the box, you will be able to create astounding portraits.
Capturing Your Subject’s Personality
A photographer’s first responsibility when doing portraits is to show “who” a person is and be able to go beyond the physical aspects of the subject. If you are able to meet and have a conversation with the subject way before the scheduled photo shoot, you will have an idea about the subject’s personality and interests. A good portrait is something that tells a story about the person. Getting to know the subject beforehand can give you clues and insights on the internal aspect of the subject that should be brought out and captured by the photographer when doing the portraiture. Don’t take them out to dinner or anything lengthy, just a few minutes of chat usually does the trick. This is my favourite lesson set on portrait photography. I said set because I think Darren hase some kind of special there right now. Have a look because it might have finished! Also, you will be able to pick the appropriate props and determine the right background for the photo shoot.