5 Steps to Taking Stunning Portraits

Great portrait photography is part skill and part art, which when you get it right can produce stunningly powerful results. If you want to know how to stop snapping around in the dark and start taking better images, here are 5 steps to taking stunning portraits.

Focus on the Subject

Portrait photography is all about the subject of the photograph, so it’s important to make them the focus of the image. Make them comfortable, talk to them, try to make them feel at ease and perhaps even try to get them laughing. The more comfortable the subject is, the more natural and powerful the end portrait will be. You’ll find it easier to communicate with your subject exactly what you want from them and direct them into the positions and poses that you’re looking for.

Composition, Composition, Composition

Think about how you’re going to frame the subject before you start aimlessly shooting away. Is the background important to provide context to the photograph? Is the portrait going to be of the whole person or just the head? Is the face going to fill the entire frame or just a portion of it? It’s vital that you have an idea of what you are attempting to achieve before you get going, and how you’re actually intending to capture that on film.

Think About the Lighting

Lighting can be the making or the breaking of a portrait, so you need to consider how this is going to affect your portrait. If you’re outdoors, ideally your subject will be facing the sun or at a slight angle to it, never directly in front of it unless you’re intending to use this as part of the composition. If you’re indoors, think about where the natural light is coming from, for example windows, and how best to manipulate this. Alternatively, it may be necessary to use a flash if there is no natural lighting.

Concentrate on the Eyes

They say the eyes are a window to the soul, and this is absolutely true when it comes to great portrait photography. The eyes are both subtle and expressive at the same time and can really capture a mood, moment or feeling that can’t be conveyed in any other way. Consider whether you want your subject to be looking directly at the lens as if making eye contact with the viewer, or if it will work better for them to be looking elsewhere. Either way, really concentrate on what the eyes are saying.

Touch Up and Edit Your Shot

Touching up and editing is an important part of any photography process whether you’re an experienced professional or a total novice. It’s not necessary to go out and purchase a top piece of photography software, as many free apps provide great functionality. Be sure not to overdo it, but fine tune the image you have produced, paying particular attention to contrast and saturation which can add depth and life.

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5 Steps To Taking Stunning Portraits