A Dose of Photography: Easy Ways To Capture Great Portraits

You don’t have to be the likes of Zach Arias or Karl Taylor to take eye-catching portraits. Just by learning the basic principles, anyone can certainly take good photos.

As they say, a photo is worth a thousand words– but it takes a lot less time to produce it.

Change the Perspective

Most of the time, portraits are usually taken at the eye level of the person. However, adjusting the angle of your shot can give your photos a little spark.

You can get close to the ground as possible or simply get up high and shoot down on your subject. Either way, you will be seeing your subject from a whole new perspective and in that way, your photos will gain more attention.n.

Experiment with Eye Contact

It’s interesting just how much the direction of the subject’s eyes will change a portrait. A lot of photos have the subject looking down the camera lens – a thing which will create an actual sense of connection between a subject and people looking at the portrait. On the other hand, there’re some other things to try:

Looking off camera – have your subject focus all the attention on a thing outside the field of view of the camera. This will create a feeling of innocence. What’s more, it will create a little interest as well as intrigue as the observer of the portrait thinks about what they’re actually looking at.

This intimacy is especially drawn about when the subject is showing a kind of emotion.

Looking within the frame – you can have the subject looking at something (or a person) within the frame. The baby looking at a bike, a young woman looking at a beautiful flower or a teenage girl looking at a shoe carousel…

With this idea in mind, it helps create a story within the portrait as well.

Forget all About the Rules

There are many dos and don’ts out there when it comes to framing and composition. Many professional photographers had a love-hate relationship with them. They are useful to know and employ so you can purposely break them – because this can lead to some amazing portraits.

The Rule of Thirds is one that can easily be broken – placing the subject either dead center can usually create an eye-catching photo – or even imaginative placement with the subject right on the edge of a portrait will usually create great photos.

One other “important” rule that we usually talk about in photography is to give a subject space to look into. This rule always works well but however, rules sometimes are made to be broken and so is this one. Instead, focus on mood as well as atmosphere.

Even though the subject will be relatively stationary, great portrait photography is generally all about catching that one moment which actually shows off the subject.

Understanding the basics of portrait photography surely can take you far in your journey in the diverse world of photography.


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Drift Stories is a Cebu Food, Travel and Mobile Photography blog. We aim to showcase the best of Cebu and promote the Philippines as a premier Asian destination.