Three Ideas for Taking Different Portrait Photos
Portrait photography is about finding the right light to take a photo of one or two people. In other types of photography several picture elements often interlock, whereas portrait photography focuses on capturing the individual person.
The ways in which you can take a portrait photo are expanding and moving away from the traditional method and style such as job application photos.
In this article you will find out more about how to depict people in a natural or mystical way and also how to change their appearance in size.
Being Well Prepared Pays Off
Good preparation before doing a task is important and this is also the case in photography. This includes, for example, the choice of camera equipment, but also not forgetting to communicate with the model.
Lenses with a medium to long focal length are often used for portraits, as these have good cropping properties on the one hand and allow a certain comfortable distance to the model on the other hand. You should ideally use a fast lens, i.e. it should also allow for lower f-stops. By using an open aperture you will be able to visibly separate the model from the background. In addition, a fast lens gives you the opportunity to take photos with a low ISO value even in poorly lit environments.
To capture good portrait photos it is very important to communicate well with your model. To avoid disappointment, you and your model should agree in advance on what kind of pictures will be taken. Also let the model know in good time what clothes and other equipment will be needed for the photoshoot.
When to Overexpose and When to Underexpose
For special portrait photos it is sometimes advisable to deviate from the balanced exposure scale. Shifting the slider of the scale to the positive or negative range often results in fantastic shots.
If you select a positive value on the scale, then the image will be overexposed. In portrait photography a lot of photographers often overexpose photos and this is known as high key photography. The bright shots exude a feeling of light heartedness and purity due a very white background.
If a negative value is selected on the exposure scale, then the image will be underexposed. This type of photography also plays an important role in the field of portrait photography. The so-called low key photography creates a mystical and gloomy atmosphere due to its predominantly dark background.
For an even more impressive appearance in your photos both high key and low key photography only work with a black and white colour spectrum.
Getting The Right Perspective: What Worked Well for Lord of the Rings
Another possibility for taking special portrait shots is the perspective that the camera takes in relation to the model. Forced perspective is a very popular technique that is often used in film, art and architecture.
Objects are shown larger or smaller than they actually are and this is achieved by placing individual objects closer or further away from the camera. The illusion is ultimately created by comparing it to another motif, which is placed in a corresponding opposite position. A very good example of this being used in a film would be Lord of the Rings. The dinky hobbits and dwarves were positioned further away from the camera in comparison to the tall humans and elves.
You should always make sure that you use a sufficiently large depth of field (small aperture) so that both the model and the subject have a sharp appearance. It is also a good idea to use a wide-angle lens, which allows you to make your model appear even larger from a low angle. However, avoid using very low focal lengths so that your model does not become distorted.
Silhouettes – Focusing More on Shapes Than Details
Emotions and character traits are often conveyed through a person's facial expressions however, the shape and outline of a person can also reveal insights into their personality. When taking photos of silhouettes the photographer deliberately limits themselves to portraying the outline of the model.
Silhouette pictures are best shot naturally when the sun is low either early in the morning or late in the evening. Whilst composing a picture keep in mind that your model is standing in front of the sun on a horizontal line, which means you will need take a picture from a low camera angle. This will help stop your model from getting lost in the silhouette and as a result they will stand out in the foreground.
Furthermore, it is important to choose a suitable background for your silhouette shoot. Ideally, the background (in most cases the horizon) should be plain so that it does not appear too distracting and it should only take up about 2/3 of the entire image. For shots in urban environments it is recommended to take pictures in subways or tunnels as you can use the light from the exit as a light source.
Use a small aperture whilst taking silhouette shots in order to create a greater depth of field in the image. You can also use fast shutter speeds to capture your model in motion. Experimenting with different compositions is fun, which can produce great results.