Portrait photography: what you need to know to start portrait photography 

the portrait photo is a difficult science. There is no miracle recipe but rather a series of little things to know. Knowing how to capture the small moment that makes someone beautiful, the look that betrays an emotion, the attitude that is specific to a person… is not an easy task, however. To succeed a portrait photo, it takes a lot more than technical know-how, but not that ...

Discover in this article some information to try to make a good portrait when you start. Nothing miraculous, but if you want to get started, here are some ideas.

 

carried photo

Photo portrait - Portrait photo - Photo credit Eric CANTO

Portrait photography can be extremely rewarding and at the same time extremely difficult. While most other photographic genres rely entirely on the ideas, talent and techniques of the photographer… The portrait introduces a wild card… the subject.

While a landscape photographer can spend time tweaking camera settings, or sitting down while nibbling, waiting for the light to be perfect, a portrait photographer must move!

A portrait "subject" will be bored and fidgety if he has to sit down. waiting for the photographer. This is especially true for children, busy business people, the elderly, and pets.

 

make a photo portrait

Photo portrait - Portrait photo - Photo credit Eric CANTO

The photo portrait technique

most of the time, the portraits are not technically complicated. You have to highlight your model, the highlight that will take all the attention of the image unless you want to associate it with another element. The main thing is to highlight your subject. Let him occupy all the attention in the picture.

 

Bring me the horizon - Portrait photo - Photo portrait

Bring me The Horizon - Portrait photo Photo portrait

 

Before taking a portrait, you should know that you should use a focal length that does not distort the subject. Due to the distortion they cause, you should avoid taking pictures with short focal lengths and instead use a lens that has a focal length of at least 50mm.
Obviously, the use of a wide angle lens is generally prohibited in portrait photographyunless your goal is to intentionally distort your subject.
Also, keep in mind that getting closer to it increases the distortion effect. To start in portrait photography, I recommend using a zoom (preferably wide aperture) from the 50mm focal length or a fixed focal length lens.
I'm talking about the wide aperture, it's because the shallow depth of field it generates is important in portrait photography.

Where to focus in portrait?

To focus in portrait, aim at the eyes " the mirror of the soul ". And it needs to be sharp to maximize the effect. Take at least an eye on the 2 if you like to play with very shallow depths of field. You can highlight the person by photographing details (a strand of hair, etc.) to emphasize the subject, especially when using shallow depth of field.

 

portrait photo photographer

Photo portrait - Photo credit Eric CANTO

How to choose your subjects in portrait photography 

This conversation best starts with the question, "What kind of portrait are you going to create?" What end result are you looking for? If someone hires you, or has asked you to create their portrait, well, you have no choice on the subject. They are the "subject" of the portrait. In this case, your attention is better focused on three objectives.

• What kind of portrait do they want - what do you need?

• What logistical choices can you make to give your subject the portrait he asks for? For example, does this situation require a studio? What kind of composition does he need?

• Finally, given these parameters, what kind of equipment and techniques do you need to successfully provide your subject with the portrait style they are looking for? If you are creating a portrait for your portfolio,

It helps to know this in advance, so that you feel free to go wild and take whatever photos or people you want! In this situation, there are no rules. If you want deep shadows? Go for it! Would you like your subject to stand ankle deep in the mud in the middle of a field.
Why not.

 

How to frame a portrait?

When you make a portrait photo, start with a tight framing to highlight the face. You can then make a larger framing to put your subject in relation to its environment. Remember, however, to use a shallow depth of field to isolate it from the background.

Photographing a portrait is above all knowing a few basic rules, including the notions of framing and composition. For starters, I suggest you use the rule of thirds, so you don't get confused with the golden ratio.
This simple framing rule gives you a good working basis to make your images more harmonious. You are free to respect or not Knowing that in portrait photography, the important thing is above all to capture the eyes and facial expressions of the model.
Here is the whole difficulty of obtaining a beautiful portrait. Remember that the subject must grab your attention at all times to shoot at the right time.
In this case, you can afford to cut the upper part of the face by placing the eyes on the upper third of the image.
Personally, I prefer them tight portraits because they really do make room for a person's face and create real privacy, but in any case (even for a full-length photo) fill the frame with the object being photographed as much as possible, it will just pop to reinforce.

How to manage natural light in portrait?

Very important, natural light plays a lot to perfect a portrait photo. To get the most out of it, take your photo when the sun is slightly hazy or simply take the shade.

The goal is to soften the shadows. Avoid, on the other hand, the strong sun which tends to cause harsh shadows on the face.

A reflector can, moreover, enormously help you to succeed your photographs under the light. It's a small panel of white or silver fabric that will reflect the light where you want it.

It will bring light where there is none, thus allowing to illuminate the face of your subject in a very simple and flexible way when you take your portrait photo. It will also add that little sparkle of light in the eyes.

 

take a portrait photo - portrait photo

Photo portrait - Portrait photo - Photo credit Eric CANTO

Managing your model when taking a portrait photo

In addition to mastering technical skills, you must also know how to manage your model in portrait photography. This task is quite delicate, because it is the key to having very natural photos and succeeding in beautiful portrait photos. Know how to relax and de-stress your model.

The last exercise you have to do is help your model get comfortable. The key is to speak over and over again.

Not easy, but the idea is to establish a climate of complicity, to relax the person and gain their trust. So you have to be patient!

Portrait photo: Make your model laugh

Still a complicated task, especially since not everyone has a sense of humor. However, in portrait photo : we want at all costs to obtain a joyful expression on the face of his model.

The trick is to play on the unexpected. Instead of making your model laugh, surprise them by saying something completely unexpected! It works both with relatives and strangers.

 

Photo portrait - Photo credit Eric CANTO

Portrait photo - Photo portrait- Photo credit Eric CANTO

Obtain a natural expression

In portrait photo, this is what we are looking for the most: capture natural expression. To succeed in having one, here are some tips.

" Close your eyes "

Ask your model to close their eyes. When you are then ready to fire, you will ask him to open his eyes and fire immediately. Repeat several times until you have what you want.

 

"Think about ..." / "Visualize that"

The goal here is to find something that will cause your model to have the positive or negative emotion you want to show. To do this, have him visualize something or think of something. For newlyweds, tell them to "Close your eyes, and think about your honeymoon." You are both on the beach: think of the sun, the sound of the sea, the blowing of the wind on your skin. Now open your eyes. The result will be impressive!

 

"Give them a role to play"

To achieve a natural expression, this also works wonderfully. Paradoxically, ask your model to play a role! Put yourself in the shoes of a child, for example. You will see that he will free himself a little, he will detach himself from his ego and will be very comfortable. If you have the eye, you will end up catching one of his expressions during the photoshoots.

 

Pose in portrait photo

Posing is an art that truly takes more time and effort than can be accomplished in a single item. However, here are some portrait photo guidelines that will get you started in the right direction for a good pose.

This is where the “Shot List” is useful for pre-planning your portrait photo. Remember that on the day of your shoot, things can change. However, having a list of plans will keep you organized.

In portrait photography, there are standard guides for "cropping" or "framing" a portrait. This is important, as cropping can affect the pose. The standard guides are: head photo, head and shoulder photo, half body photo, three quarters body photo, full body photo, and a group photo. These are all pretty self-explanatory.

 

Portrait photo humorist pierre emmanuel barre Photo portrait

Portrait photo Pierre Emmanuel Barre Photo portrait

 

Do not cut the body where it bends.

If the portrait is meant to be "full length," be sure to include the entire body and give the image some space around the edges.

Here is a key point. Do not cut the body where it bends. If your portrait is a head shot, make your shot so tight that you can't see the neck “at all”, or include the entire neck for best results.

If your portrait is a head and shoulders shot, don't crop the subject at shoulder or elbow level. If your portrait is a half-length portrait, keep the full size in the photo and above the knees, or completely out of the photo (above the waist).

 

Portrait photo: Do not cut off your arms or hands.

 

olivia ruiz Portrait photo

Olivia Ruiz Portrait photo Portrait photo

 

If your portrait is full length, do not cut off the subject at the ankles. Other hot spots in the pose include upper arms, neck, and hand placement. If there is excess skin on the neck, try stretching the subject's neck.

Capture the subject so that the “stretch” appears normal and not out of place. For example, position the camera higher than the subject, so that when they stretch their necks, they are looking upward towards the camera.

The final effect is more natural by combining correct pose with the need to treat hot spots. If there is excess flesh on the arms, it will only be magnified if you pose the subject with the arms pressed to their body.

Keep your arms out of your body. This may be true even with subjects who have thin arms. Finally, nothing will kill your portrait faster than hands that your subject perceives as strange.

 

portrait photo michel jonasz

portrait photo Photo portrait - michel jonasz

 

This particular hot spot is only accentuated by the fact that most portrait subjects don't know what to do with their hands, and when they get nervous they will do strange things with their hands.

1. Do not push the hands towards the front of the body. This will make them look big and bulky.

2. Before clicking the shutter, look at the subject's hands. Are they tense or relaxed? Did they cross their fingers in a weird way?

3. If the subject is nervous, give them something to do. Place it on their knees or slide their thumbs into a pants pocket. Have them hold a prop.

If you are in “group photo mode”, carefully place each individual's hands on an individual next to them. You should be careful with this trick though. In a family portrait, everyone can hold onto each other.

In a business portrait, carefully consider all the touching options. The final considerations for posing are the subject's posture and legs. No one looks good standing as stiff as a plank. Work with your subject to relax into a normal body position.

 

professional concert photographer

Portrait photograph

 

Have them cross one leg over the other, or place one foot forward or to the side. Study portrait photography (which you enjoy) to see how the photographer worked with the subject's position, hands and feet. Here is a simple tip for posing groups of people.

Don't line them up. Think in terms of triangles. Study portrait photography (which you enjoy) to see how the photographer has worked with the subject's position, hands, and feet. Here is a simple tip for posing groups of people. Don't line them up. Think in terms of triangles.

Study portrait photography (which you enjoy) to see how the photographer has worked with the subject's position, hands, and feet. Here is a simple tip for posing groups of people. Don't line them up. Think in terms of triangles.

 

Some tips for posing your model during a portrait photo

Doing a photo portrait also requires a certain amount of instruction.

To get started you need:

  • Be specific in your instructions
  • As you go, guide your model, asking them precisely where they should position themselves or which direction they should look. Don't say “Look to the right” for example, but “Can you look at the post over there? (pointing to it) or "Can you turn your head towards the post over there, and then look at me but not move your head?" "
  • Make your models more beautiful

 

Photo portrait - Photo credit Eric CANTO

Photo portrait - photo portrait Photo credit Eric CANTO

Discover 4 practical tips to showcase your model in a portrait photo (because details matter!)

1. Photo portrait: Slightly lower your model's chin

Slightly lowering the chin makes people look better. It tends to draw the jawline better, slim the face, and hide a slight plumpness.

 

2.Portrait photo: The angle of view

To showcase your model, your viewing angle is important. Never photograph someone from a low angle (seen from below). Take your photo right in front of the person, slightly above (high angle view) or slightly below (low angle view).

 

3. Photo portrait: The "squinch"

For your model to have a more intense look, go for the squinch. This involves making him lift the lower eyelid, almost without the upper eyelid moving.

 

4.Photo portrait: Three-quarter or face-to-face pose

The position of the body also affects the way you will see the model, even if you are photographing a bust, for example.
- From the front, it will appear more imposing.
- At three quarters, the silhouette will be refined.

So here are some indications to start the portrait photo. It is not that complex, only one thing to keep in mind: to paint and remake the portrait. Test again and again, you will see, it's magic, we are improving day after day ...

 

 

 


Eric CANTO Photographer: Concert photos, portraits, album covers.

Visit my portfolio Visit the blog Visit the shop contact me

 

 

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