When you look at a portrait photograph, it invariably evokes some kind of emotion. You may find the subject’s expression intriguing, amusing, or thought provoking. Whatever the case may be, a great portrait photograph always tells a story. There are no hard and fast rules for portrait photography, but following a few general guidelines will help you improve your skills as a portrait photographer. Here are some portrait photography tips for photographers which could help you get some great portraits.
1. Effect of Lighting: Lighting is the most crucial factor in photography. Even if everything else is perfect, bad lighting can ruin a photograph. The most important portrait photography tip related to lighting is to ensure that there is adequate light on your subject’s face. Whether in the studio or outdoors, avoid any shadows on the face, especially around the eyes. For this you will need to manipulate the source of light (in a studio setting) or manipulate the direction your subject is facing (for outdoor portraits). Also, remember to avoid too harsh lighting.
2. Importance of colors combinations: The colors in your photograph will set the mood for your portrait. Make sure that the colors in the background do not take the focus away from your subject. The color of the subject’s clothes should be flattering to their skin color and highlight their features.
3. Pose: Make sure the subject is comfortable during the shoot. This will reflect in the way they pose for the portrait. For outdoor portrait shoots, casual poses work best, while you could get a more formal look for a studio portrait. Try and establish rapport with the subject so that you have good communication and can get a range of poses. Keep in mind the age of the subject as well as the look you want in the portrait while getting your subject to pose.
4. Expression: After lighting, this is the next most important factor for portrait photographs. The eyes are the single most striking feature in almost all portraits. Try to get a variety of emotions and expressions from your subject during the portrait shoot. Also, try shooting from different angles and notice the range of varying expressions you get.
5. Post-processing: The last portrait photography tip in this list is to use post-processing to improve and enhance your portraits. Try and keep this to a minimum, but wherever required, smooth out or lighten scars or marks, even out skin tones, try and reduce the effect of shadows if present, and generally try to make your portraits look sharper and clearer. Photoshop should work well for most of your post-processing needs.
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