Take Amazing Portraits With These 10 Techniques
I love taking portraits. One of the main reasons I got into photography was that I wanted to capture amazing personal moments for people. I remember the first portrait photo I saw was of my grandparents. It was black and white, and I thought it was magical. Over the years I have gathered a wealth of knowledge about taking photos, primarily through the mistakes I made.
I put these together with my friends from iPortrait Photography, if your in Brisbane and looking for a professional to take your photo’s instead of doing it yourself check them out here. www.iportraitphotography.com.au – We spent a couple of hours together recently discussing what makes a great portrait photo and what advice we could give to people. Read on to find out and I hope our combined knowledge can help you.
Here, I want to share my top ten techniques that I have developed in order to get the most out of portraits.
Interesting portraits take advantage of angles that are out of the ordinary. Create excitement in the shot by using overhead angles. Avoiding eye-level shots in all instances is very important. Exploring unconventional angles can also be useful when dealing with subjects that display a variety of heights and body types as well.
The type of flash that you use has a huge impact on your final results. An off-camera flash can be very effective, especially when dealing with wedding photography. Avoid using flashes to light the subject’s face directly. Instead, focus on lighting from the side in order to create both light and shadows that will avoid flattening your image.
The sun can also cause a considerable hurdle for getting great shots. However, you can overcome this obstacle by using your flash effectively. Placing speedlites in the proper position can diminish the sun and darken the image for a better, total exposure of the subject. Environmental portraits that incorporate the landscape to a large degree benefit from this approach immensely. Also, avoid using a diffuser when attempting this technique.
4. Study The Setting
Another key to successful portraits rests in the eye of the photographer. Study the setting in order to find the best place to capture silhouettes and reflections that will make the photograph more interesting. These elements also serve to add depth to the final shot as well. A strong light source behind a couple or individual can serve to guide your efforts. In terms of reflective surfaces, get creative with elements such as glass, puddles, windows, and mirrors.
Back light is critical in creating engaging images. It can take some practice to place people in the positions where the back lighting will create the most intriguing effects. One key is to focus on edge lights that surround the subject or interesting objects in the photograph. This rimming effect, both natural and artificial, enhances the apparent dimension of the subject that you are photographing.
6. Use Objects
Another way to increase the vibrancy of your shots is to take photos through objects. Locating objects that potentially increase the interest of the shot can also be an art form. Begin to train yourself in recognizing the potential of objects in your foreground. For example, tree branches, household items, arches, and greenery can all serve your purposes. Using a long lens also makes getting the shot easier due to the fact that you can blur out particular elements while still focusing on your subject.
7. Video Lights
Many people struggle when it comes to taking photos at night. Video lights can be the ideal solution for night portraits. Because the light source is continuous, you get a better idea of the final product in the actual viewfinder. This type of lighting also makes it easier to make fast adjustments in order to tweak the photograph.
The lens that you use is very important. There is no way to survive in the world of portraiture without a 50mm lens. This lens offers a perspective that is very common to the average person’s viewpoint. However, if you want to go beyond the ordinary and the comfortable, then also equip yourself with a 85mm and 200mm lens as well. The longer focal lengths also create a more dramatic background, giving you the ability to blur the elements and cause the subject to float.
One thing to take seriously is the equipment that you use to create your portraits. When using speedlites to capture that professional feeling, raise the sophistication of your results by also incorporating gels. Blue (CTB) and Orange CTO) gels can alter the mood of your photograph instantly. These gels are also handy when the environment where you are shooting is overcast or incorporates the sunset. With gels and the proper white balance, you can balance out the existing lighting conditions. Once you have some experience with these gels, you can also learn to use them in the place of direct sunlight.
Finally, many photographers will simply run from the sun to areas of shade. However, those that are adept in their art can use the sun to their advantage. During the right times of day, sunlight can be used as a direct source of illumination that can actually eliminate the need for any other kind of lighting equipment. Adjust your exposure for areas in direct illumination in order to dramatically darken the background.
I hope these are helpful, grab your camera and enjoy the moment. Thanks Alma