or portraiture is photography of a person or group of people that displays the expression, personality, and mood of the subject. Like other types of portraiture, the focus of the photograph is usually the person's face, although the entire body and the background or context may be included.
Top 10 Tips:
Top 10 Tips:
- Alter Your Perspective: Most portraits are taken with the camera at (or around) the eye level of the subject. While this is good common sense – completely changing the angle that you shoot from can give your portrait a real WOW factor.
- Play with Eye Contact: It is amazing how much the direction of your subject’s eyes can impact an image. Most portraits have the subject looking down the lens – something that can create a real sense of connection between a subject and those viewing the image. But there are a couple of other things to try: Looking off camera and Looking within the frame.
- Break the Rules of Composition: You have to know the rules to break them. The Rule of Thirds is one that can be effective to break – placing your subject either dead centre can sometimes create a powerful image – or even creative placement with your subject right on the edge of a shot can sometimes create interesting images.
- Experiment with Lighting: Another element of randomness that you can introduce to your portraits is the way that you light them. There are almost unlimited possibilities when it comes to using light in portraits.
- Shoot Candidly: Sometimes posed shots can look somewhat…. posed. Some people don’t look good in a posed environment and so switching to a candid type approach can work.
- Introduce a Prop: Add a prop of some kind into your shots and you create another point of interest that can enhance your shot. Yes you might run the risk of taking too much focus away from your main subject but you could also really add a sense of story and place to the image that takes it in a new direction and gives the person you’re photographing an extra layer of depth
- Focus Upon One Body Part: Get close up or get a lens with a long focal length attached to your camera – or get right in close so that you can just photograph a part of your subject. Photographing a person’s hands, eyes, mouth or even just their lower body… can leave a lot to the imagination of the viewer of an image.
- Obscure Part of your Subject: A variation on the idea of zooming in on one part of the body is to obscure parts of your portrait subject’s face or body. You can do this with clothing, objects, their hands or just by framing part of them out of the image.
- Take a Series of Shots: Switch your camera into ‘continuous shooting’ mode and fire off more than one shot at a time. In doing this you create a series of images that could be presented together instead of just one static image. This technique can work very well when you’re photographing children – or really any active subject that is changing their position or pose in quick succession.
Famous Portrait Photographers:
Dorothea Lange (1895-1965):
Dorothea Lange photographed the unemployed men who wandered the streets during the great depression. Her photographs of migrant workers were often shown with captions that featured the words from the workers themselves. Dorothea Lange died from esophageal cancer in 1965.
Antonin Kratochvil (1947-Present):
Antonin Kratochvil has photographed an array of various subjects, including Mongolia’s street children for the Museum of Natural History as well as the war in Iraq for Fortune Magazine. in 2005, he won the Lucie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Photojournalism & the 2005 Golden Light Award for Best Documentary Book.