Everyone wants to be able to take a stunning portrait of their friend, sister and especially their fur babies. Here are 3 basic considerations for taking a better portrait. You can use all or only a few with your next photo session. Let me know how it works out!
1. Choose your background
Selecting a minimal background or one that adds interest is essential for a decent portrait. Things to look for in a background include:
- Textures – this could be a classic brick wall, a textured wood or industrial metal.
- Objects to frame the subject- This is called using leading lines (which I will talk about in future posts). You can look for a line of trees, the way the light falls in order to bring more attention to the subject.
- Removing distractions- This is probably most essential. Consider the focus of the portrait and remove any “busyness” .
2. Position the Subject
While candid shots can be incredible, and often are my favorite to shoot. If your intention is to take a traditional or focused portrait this means posing the subject. How do you pose? Here is a short list of ideas:
- The 3/4 turn- Feet crossed, hands on hips, one shoulder turned towards you
- Where are the Arms?- Avoid the “Fig Leaf” if at all possible- you know the one where the hands are right in front of their business? Instead consider crossed arms, hands in pockets (relaxed), hands clasped behind the back, or for a more feminine look one hand gently touching the shoulder while the other s relaxed at the side.
- Turn and Look – Have your subject stand with their body facing to the side and the head turn to look at you, chin slightly pointed down.
3. Adjust for the Lighting
Remember light is your medium! Consider the type of lighting that is around you. Where is it coming from? Only light the subject from behind if you want a silhouette. Soft and diffused light is flattering on everyone, while harsh and direct can be great for causing sharp contrast and mood. Use the exposure settings on your phone to adjust for both color and focus. To see how this is done check out “5 Easy Tips to Improve your Phone Photography”.