Portrait Photography Tips That Every Photographer Should Know

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Learn how to take portrait photographs

Portrait photography is one of the most popular forms of photography. As attractive as portrait pictures might look, it involves a lot of struggle to get that perfect portrait shot. To click great portrait photographs you need to learn certain techniques and skills. Listed below are some portrait photography ideas that can help you click great portrait photographs.

Struggling to click portraits that can awe your followers?

Portrait photography is a big teller of your skills as a photographer. In this form of photography the difference between a professional and an amateur is vast. The aim of portrait photography or portraiture is to capture the personality or emotions of a person. A portrait photographer uses effective lighting, backdrops, and poses to bring about a meaningful narration through their clicks.

Portrait photography has emerged as one of the most popular forms of photography. The complexities of a human face appeals a A lot of photography enthusiasts want to pursue this genre of photography. There are a lot of different techniques and skills required in portrait photography. From the technical know hows of a camera to understanding the behaviour of your model, there is so much that goes in taking great portrait photos.
If you are unsure of your skills or struggling to click the perfect shot, worry not. I have compiled a list of tips that will help you improve your portrait photography skills.

Portrait Photography Tips & Ideas

Discuss the concept with your subject

The focus of the portrait photography is your subject. Hence, it is very important for your subject to understand which shots of them you are planning to get. When the model or person gets the idea of the concept, they can put forth the emotions and personality with much ease. By interacting with your subject, you also make sure that they are comfortable. A comfortable subject is more photogenic than an uncomfortable one. It’s suggested that you keep interacting with them throughout the shoot. Handhold them through your process and the postures you’d want them to pose in.

Decide your lens

Decide the lens that you will be shooting from. For instance if you want to take a wide angle portrait shot then you must use a wide angle lens. If you are using your mobile camera, you’ll need to focus on exposure and composition. If you are using DSLR camera lens, then aperture plays a very important role. If you use mobile cameras for your shoots, there is no need to upgrade to a DSLR or mirrorless. Some tweaks to the settings will help you achieve the shots that you have planned.

While planning portrait photograph, it is important to decide which camera or lens will you use.

Location is very important

Finding the right location for portrait photography can be quite challenging. You will need to select a location that suits your concept and does not hinder the focus from your subject. According to your concept you can plan to shoot outdoors or indoors. For instance if you want to click self-portraits then you can shoot indoors, at your home or elsewhere. If you want to capture portrait shots in natural light then you can shoot outdoors like in parks, gardens, lake side and other open locations.

Select a location which compliments your concept and the subject. This will help you take great portrait photographs.
Photo by Kourosh Qaffari

The role of light

Lighting plays a key factor in portrait photography. Only in good lighting will you be able to click great portrait photographs. Here are some tips that you can follow:

(a) If you are shooting outdoors then avoid shooting in direct sunlight. It will be harsh on your subject and you won’t be able to get the desired portrait shot.

(b) Try shooting during the golden hours. During this time, the sun is low in the sky. It will give the portrait pictures a soft and warm tone.

(c) Pay attention on the ambience lighting if you are shooting indoors. It’s suggested to work with artificial lighting. For instance if you want to get an aesthetic portrait shot then you can create shadows on your subject’s face using artificial lighting.

Light has a very important role to play in taking great photos.

Pose and expression

To get creative portrait shots you can experiment with poses and expressions. Your subject can help you with this. If your subject is not a professional at this, try not to give them too complex poses. Remember, the best portraits are where the subjects are at ease. For instance if you want to click a candid portrait shot then you can crack a joke to your subject. This will make them laugh and you will be able to capture their expressions in a natural environment. You can take inspiration from apps like GoSocial or Pinterest. A lot of photographers keep updating their profile on these platforms. Their work can serve as your inspiration.

Camera angle

Camera angle also plays a key role in portrait photography. To click a good portrait shot you must set your camera angle right and then shoot. Clicking portrait pictures from unconventional camera angles, can make them look more creative. While clicking a portrait, a lot of photographers prefer close up shots. These are more appealing and convey the million details of a human face efficiently. Nowadays, wide angle portrait shots are a huge trend. So, you can ride the wave and click great wide angle portrait shots using your phone camera.

Use props

Props are a great way to make the portrait shot look more flattering. It makes the picture look more creative and attractive. They add dimension to the portrait picture and can make the shot more colourful and vibrant. You can place them in the background or ask your subject to use it. For example you can use fairy lights as a prop and ask the subject to hold them near the face. Exercise precaution while shooting with fairy lights as get too hot too quick.

Along with these portrait photography ideas there are also some portrait photography challenges that you can take to learn and improve your portrait photography skills. On GoSocial you can find different photography challenges that will help you practice your skills. You can also get creative portrait photography ideas from these challenges. Some interesting portrait photography challenges on GoSocial are:

Self-portrait photography challenge

Well, we all love stunning self- portrait pictures that we see on Instagram and Pinterest. This is an interesting photography challenge hosted on GoSocial that you can take if you want to improve your portrait photography skills. You can click creative and aesthetic self-portrait shots at your home. You can also experiment with artificial lighting, props, and poses.

Portrait editing challenge

This is a super fun challenge for those who love editing the portrait pictures. Both beginners and professional portrait photographers can take this challenge. You can experiment a lot with editing after clicking portrait shots. You can change the colour and tone of the portrait, increase or decrease the saturation, or add grainy effect in you portrait shot if you want to. You can share your edited portraits on your social media and on GoSocial.

So, these were some tips and ideas on portrait photography. These portrait photography ideas can help you click great portrait pictures. But, it is not something which you can learn overnight. To click great portrait pictures you will need a lot of patience, practice, and commitment. Participating in portrait photography challenges is great way to learn and improve your portrait photography skills.

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