Portrait Photography

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The portrait photography passionate about all a little, professional photographers, amateur photographers or simply lovers of photography (even occasional) as a mom or a dad who else does not want you to have good pictures of your child.

A nice example of photo portrait made in the studio often come back to the subject of the photo portrait for obvious reasons of competence but also because I have noticed, from the emails I receive, that this topic has a considerable interest in many people.

The photographic portrait is one of those specialties of the Photographic Art, for which a great amount of talent and creativity is required for the photographer.

But all this does not need much if you do not have the knowledge - at least the basic ones - of a minimal lighting technique and the basic concepts of the composition and the framing of the subject.

So we find it useful for everyone to keep in mind these 4 simple suggestions - the result of our field experience - on how to make "effective photo portraits”.

No rigid rules, nothing definite in short, are merely reflections on the subject of portrait photography essentially based on some of my personal findings on the field.

  1. Make it all simple

The more complex the scene is and the more likely it will be to get a mediocre portrait, not really beautiful. Keeping the clean, simple and tidy background is the first thing you should do to make a good photo portrait. Take a picture of the background (without subject) before you start taking it and check that there is nothing "dirty" that can distract your eyes and draw attention.

The more neutral the background will be the clearer will be the result of your photography. Place the subject in front of the camera only after making sure everything is in the back of your model or model.

It is always better to work with natural light, but if you really need to use artificial light to make the portrait the secret is to use as little light source as possible so that you can control it better than taking care to keep the clean background and without shadows.

  1. Try the shots first

Try to be as prepared as possible for the shot, test before the subject of your portrait arrives in front of your camera.

If you are shooting in a photo studio you should already have the ready lighting and also the camera properly configured and ready to shoot. If you work outdoors, it would be advisable to do an on-site visit first, evaluating better the corners more interesting to frame in the background and the shifts of the sun so you can determine in advance what is the right time to take your photos.

Besides, using this feature you will not be longing for the person you are going to photograph that will be more relaxed and ready to be portrayed.

  1. Frame and light in backlight

Illuminating from behind who you are photographing - especially in the outside - can be a simple way to make the image softer, avoiding shadows and direct light that can bother the eyes of the model. This rule applies even if the shot is made in the studio but in this case, however, without a reasonable experience, it will be harder to create the right shooting conditions.

You will definitely need a hood, but also a flash to compensate for the light coming from behind. A simple "soap" - an amateur flash - can be enough to give a small blur in the face, but even a white reflective panel placed in front of your model can be fine.

  1. Frame (little) under the eyes

Did you ever make a case? When a photographer realizes a portrait takes on a fairly particular posture, he almost always just bent on his knees. At first I could not explain why these "contortions" then, by doing so, I realized that the reason was that, framing the subject just below the line of his eyes (only a little), the result of the shot is better. Even the model is more relaxed by keeping her look downwards and feels comfortable looking so much safer.

Obviously, this happens with most people but not with everyone. I've tried applying this formula either by holding the subject standing or sitting and what seems to have worked. Even keeping the light slightly below the subject's eyes can help a lot in the result.

Concluding note:

When you are on a photo set with a person in front of the camera, you do not always have time (or want) to put in practice tips and suggestions and I firmly believe that every situation is different from the other. Experimenting is fine and very useful but said what really matters is the achievement of the desired result. 

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