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Simple Steps to a Better Portrait: Part 2

A portrait should be more than just a photo – it should capture the true essence of a person and give the audience a sense of their individuality. In Part 1 we talked exposure, aperture, lenses, ISO, and focus, with a few simple tricks to help you on your way to a better image. Now…

A portrait should be more than just a photo – it should capture the true essence of a person and give the audience a sense of their individuality.

In Part 1 we talked exposure, aperture, lenses, ISO, and focus, with a few simple tricks to help you on your way to a better image.
Now complete our mini-series with steps 6-10 to take your photography to the next level!

Simple Steps to a Better Portrait: Part 2

6. Get creative

A good photographer wants their portraits to pop, and keeping things traditional doesn’t always achieve this. Try experimenting with high and low angles, or incorporating something relevant into the shot. Play with lighting your subject with natural and artificial lighting. Using a reflector can improve the natural light balance on your subject, and help to bring out features that otherwise may otherwise appear smoother.
Will your shot look best in colour or darker tones?


32066272893_1c8e561175_o
Image by Vasiliy Khraban

 

7. Get comfortable

Most people can feel a little uncomfortable having their picture taken, especially when portraits photography can sometimes be close-up and personal. Even professional models sometimes feel the strain, and building a positive rapport and making your subject feel relaxed is essential when producing great images. Awkwardness or nervousness can appear in your portraits and make them feel un-natural and forced.
Let your model bring their creative flair into the process, they might spark something that you hadn’t even thought of.

32070831164_01621813e6_oImage by Rayambler7

8. Make use of a flash

Using a flash can (literally) make the difference between night and day. A flash in low light can produce dramatic and effective contrasts, and add texture and mood to your shots. This will also help keep your images sharp.
Used in conjunction with a good aperture setting and shutter speed, using a flash will often bring it all together. It may seem strange to use a flash in daylight, however, if you are struggling to achieve balanced contrast and exposure levels, deploying a flash will help to smooth these out.

17604543516_de5f8ff743_oImage by Reinier VanOorsouw

9. Mix up your shots

Don’t just take a handful of shots and hope for the best. Often the best images are the ones taken during a models most relaxed moments, or during a reshuffle of location, angle, position or lighting. Try some traditional head and shoulder portraits, but mix in some wider shots, close-ups and accompanying images. Don’t be afraid to take just one more shot!

 

Hsppiness, Adalaj StepwellImage by Rajan Raju

10. Find your style

Shooting great portraits may seem like a formula, but the best way to practice is to carve your own route and style. Go manual to capture images in unique and new ways, and bring life to seemingly bland shots with alternative lighting or exposure settings.

35958527084_43b28904e8_oImage by Rayambler7

Share your portraits on Lobster now using the tags #portrait, #humanity, or #lobsterportrait

Written by George Janes

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