So Fresh N So Clean Portraiture

Here are some great tips I came across on how to freshen up your portrait photography. Improve Photography provides an extensive list but here are a few highlights I definitely stand by.

  • Window light  Don’t have an expensive studio or want to get more natural portraits? Normal lighting in a house or during the heat of the day is not flattering on skin; however, once light passes through a window, it is very soft and diffused.  Consider placing your subject next to a window so the light hits the model at an angle (not looking straight out the window).  Without much effort, you’ve created beautiful light which studios strain to copy.
  • Fill the frame  Zoom way in on the subject’s face, eye, or hands.  Filling the frame shows great detail and will set your photo apart from the millions of snapshots that we see every day on our friends’ Facebook pages.
  • Models relax immediately when a prop is introduced  Pick a flower and give it to the bride to play with, give the couple bubblegum and take a photo of them blowing bubbles together, give a kid a toy, etc.  You don’t necessarily have to include the prop in the frame (although it usually looks cool), but it is a guaranteed way to get the subject to relax a bit.
  • You’re missing out on half of your model  There is a whole other side of your clients that you aren’t shooting at all.  What’s that side?  The back side.  Shots of the subject walking away from the camera, or of the subject’s body turned away from the camera and head facing the camera can be quite compelling.
  • When shooting in poor mid-day lighting, have the subject face away from the sun  Having the subject face the sun so their face doesn’t look dim and shadowy in mid-day lighting makes for unflattering shadows on the face.  The best way to shoot mid-day portraits is to have the subject face away from the sun so their face is in the shade, and then have the photographer over-expose the picture so the face looks properly exposed.
  • Instead of pictures of just the face, go smaller  What about photographing a child’s sandy feet while he plays on the beach or your grandmother’s hands, or your friend’s eye.  Sometimes the tiniest details speak volumes.
  • The worst way to get a “candid” expression from your subject  Telling the subject that they don’t look good only makes the situation ten times worse.  Never tell the subject they look stiff or they need to loosen up.  It backfires 100% of the time.
  • Put three (or more) photos in a row  Shoot in continuous high mode when photographing kids.  Inevitably, they dump a bucket of sand on their head, trip, or do something funny.  Take the three or four pictures and combine them into a little film strip to show the short story.
  • Photograph the subject in their native environment  Some people just don’t belong in a studio.  They feel awkward and it shows in camera.  So Instead of tears and tantrums when you try to dress up your child all pretty for studio punishment, let him play with the toys and snap pictures of every moment.

Check out the full list here.

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