Portrait photography is just not about capturing a photo. It must also be very effective to trigger a viewer’s attention. The intention of this article is to make you understand, the basic ideas of capturing portraits in different forms to stimulate viewer’s attention. Another intention is to know the different concepts and the techniques which every photographer must know. Initially, let’s go with basic ideas and further with technical concepts which are explained in simple ways.
Basic Ideas to Capture Portraits
Click from Different Perspective
Always photographers tend to click the portraits by standing still and focus on the individual’s face. It is one of the traditional ways to capture portraits.
But, there are also a few ways where you can change the perspectives to create amazing portraits. One of them can be by just standing above the individual’s height, and another is by capturing from the ground level to top.
A photo which is captured from the bottom level can create an attractive and engaging portrait. The above image says it all.
As a portrait photographer, you must be flexible with various portrait perspectives. Otherwise, the session would turn boring.
Another perspective can be through focusing from top to bottom.
‘Photo captured by focusing from above‘
If you’re a commercial portrait photographer, ensure post-processing is done before delivering images to clients. Photo editors can make an image significant difference by looking at its overall dimensions.
Take the eye-contact away from your camera
Usually, most of the portraits are captured in a way to ensure that there is an actual sense of connection between the viewer and the subject. But, there can also be a way to capture portraits by taking the individual’s eyes away from your camera.
Taking eye-contact off the camera makes an emotional aspect which can trigger customer attention towards the image. This technique of portrait photography can be implemented in various photography niches like in the wedding, fashion, jewelry industries for viewer’s attention.
An eye is called window to the soul. If the eyes are not looking sharper, the portrait cannot have a significant influence. Henceforth, always ensure eyes are sharper in an image.
Add one more element to the subject by making them look at it
As a portrait photographer, you can make your subject to either look at another element or indirectly indicate the element on a pose. This creates interests in that particular element as well and the technique is very useful for product promotions, for capturing a wedding bride. For example, a wedding bride, holding a flower; a woman carrying her baby, a model wearing jewels and indicating them in the indirect style.
‘A perfect wedding portrait ’
Various Photo Editing Service Provider retouches your images as per your requirement and provides services in various photography niches like a wedding, fashion, product and many more. Some of the services that we offer to our clients are; face retouching, skin smoothing, spot removal, image sharpening, color correction, white balance correction, image masking, hair masking, background change, product editing and many more.
‘The model is looking at her purse, indicating her matching heels with her clothing.’
This type of photography tricks is good for promoting fashionable products.
Break the Composition
Once you have captured portraits with the right composition, move on to different perspectives by breaking the composition rules which might end up getting unique and creative images. Rule of thirds can be an effective path to break composition and capture as per your ideas.
Techniques which you must apply in your next portrait session
Make use of high sync flash and camera’s flash effectively
It is always remarkable to use flash for portraits as it creates an emotional aspect and engages viewers on an image.
As a portrait photographer, you know that the flash makes a significant influence in a portrait image. But, do you know the exact difference between camera’s flash sync speed and high sync flash? Camera’s flash sync speed is the fastest shutter speed at which your camera and flash can synchronize to get a perfect illuminated portrait. For example, Imagine, your camera’s flash sync speed is 1/200s and you set the shutter speed of 1/200s or slower (like 1/150s, 1/100s or so), then the shutter will be widely exposed to flash, producing a perfect illuminated image. Suppose, if the shutter speed was set higher than the camera’s flash sync speed (i.e. above 1/200s), then the second shutter (in another terms ‘rear shutter’) of the camera would already start to close down, resulting an image to get underexposed. When the shutter starts to close down before flash popping-in, it is obvious that you would get the underexposed image. So, you must always set shutter speed accordingly, to synchronize with camera’s flash sync speed.
Camera’s native flash sync speed can perfectly suit during the night portrait photography since most of the photographers use lowest ISO (to reduce noise) with a wider aperture (f/4 or f/5,6) to get interests only towards portrait and also slower shutter speed to add more light into the camera’s sensor. But, when you want to utilize flash during the daylight portrait photography, you might need to increase the flash sync speed and shutter speed to overpower excessive ambient light during the day.
Recommendation: Keep ISO to 100, maybe 200 or 400 for a crisp image without noise. But, have you ever thought about the reason why you need flash during the day? Let’s move with an example to get a clearer idea about it.
Sun exposes nature as such it can be good for portrait photography. But, during over brightness of the sunlight, you need flash to overpower it. Imagine you’re capturing a portrait in a beach or hilltop with a nice scenery background of nature and clouds. But, the sun is shining brightly. The technique of flash can be used to overcome this excessive brightness and also it can be utilized for overcoming the shadows.
‘Even though it is a day, flash produces good glow to a portrait.’
If scenery is good, your client might wish even the background to be focused. During this situation, keep ISO between 100 and 400, use a smaller aperture like f/16 or above, and use slower shutter speed. So here, you might not require high-speed sync flash and rather stick on with camera’s native flash speed for producing good portraits. But, it all depends on lighting situations. So, adapt to conditions accordingly and make decisions.
You may not need flash if you position your subject well against the sunlight. But, do carry flash and experiment with and without it, and see the differences.
Note: High-speed sync flash works when your camera has that option available.
Utilizing Appropriate White Balance
The color tone of the skin makes a significant impact on portrait photography. Hence, analyzing the lighting conditions well and setting the white balance accordingly is the best practice. The auto white balance mode sometimes works well and sometimes not. So, having a go at 2-minutes video of Corey Vidal on white balance can give you the appropriate idea to set them.
Always be aware of lighting conditions around
If you’re planning to shoot indoors, analyze the lighting conditions of place and then consider whether existing ambient light is sufficient to capture portraits or not. If not, move on with artificial lights, accordingly set the camera settings, and analyze a place in which you can click nice portraits. For example, a clean wall or a place which doesn’t distort background.
If you’re planning to shoot outdoors, then you have to think about the time for the shoot. Probably the best time to capture portraits during the day would be early morning, late afternoon and overcast situations. During the hours of mid-day, you may find harsh sunlight and shadows. But, it is possible to photograph if you’re capturing under the shades. Another point you must look at is the positioning of your model or client against the sun. If you’re having an issue with the unnecessary shadow reflections on the portrait, use flash to sort them out, and that will also give a better glow to the face as well.
Also, think beyond your subject when clicking portraits. There must not be any geometrical shapes or the elements which creates tension in the background as it distracts the viewer’s focus towards the subject.
Moreover, key technical elements which are explained above would certainly make a good impact in your portrait photography. So, initially practice those techniques by making your relative or a friend as a model, and then it will be easier for you to capture attractive portrait during your commercial photography. Hope, at least one of the basic ideas mentioned would have helped you.