How To Take Take An Expressive Photographic Portrait

Portrait photography is a true art form that has been in existence since the mid-1800s. If you are interested in taking good photographic portraits, you can learn from the masters of the past. Many past portrait photographers have used a few tips and tricks to take memorable photographic portraits. Here are a few things to consider if you want to take good photographic portraits:  

Eyes:  Focus on your model's eyes. Talk to your model as you take his or her picture to get them to relax and think about something other than posing for their photographic portrait. This will bring out their character, personality, and energy. Allow your model to move naturally as you converse with them and focus on their eyes with your camera. 

Pose:  Position your model so that they are sitting at an angle to your camera and not facing your camera directly. Ask your model to turn only their head toward you and not to turn their body. This will result in a natural pose that can capture your model's unique facial expressions.  

Lighting:  Your main light source should come from one side of your model. This can be from a window or from spot lights. Place a light reflector on the opposite side of your model from your main light source to shine diffused light into the shadowed part of their face. If you are taking photographic portrait shots outdoors, look for a location that has both sun and shade so that you can control the strength and direction of the light on your model. 

Framing:  To add interest to your photography portrait, do not place your model in the middle of the frame. Position your camera so that your model is off to one side of the frame and turned toward you with their face and eyes. Position yourself so that you are on the same level as your model so that they will not have to look up or down when looking at you and your camera. 

Background:  For a successful photographic portrait, keep the background behind your model simple and uncluttered. If you are shooting your model in an environment that you have not set up, use a lens with that keeps your model's face and upper body in focus while it blurs all background and surrounding objects. 

Color or Black and White:  The element of color can be a significant component of a photographic portrait. For a unique and powerful photograph, consider eliminating color from some of your photographic shots. You can do this with photo editing software after you have taken your model's photographic portrait. 

Study the portraits of the great portrait photographers of the past to see what makes their work so successful. Research the photographs of Annie Leibovitz, Diane Arbus, Yousuf Karsh, Richard Avedon, and Edward Curtis. Look for museum exhibitions of their work to see their photographic prints in real life and not just reproductions in books or on the internet. With continued research and by taking countless photographs, you can improve your talent and become a skilled portrait photographer. For more information, contact companies like Holly Kuper Photography.