Portrait Styles

‘Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. You first have to practice at practicing.’ Vince Lombardi.  One should not be discouraged if he/she produces out of focus shots, which was the problem I faced with some of my kids’ shots. The photographer has to have a lot of patience and take lots of shots.

Framing Faces (Close-Ups):

Going close in a photograph (close-up framing) suggests intimacy and produces images that people cherish. Shooting close-ups involves bringing the camera close and tight to the subject using lens such as the macro lens. Another way is moving back and using a telephoto or long lens. All these are while framing the image, however, you can still produce a close-up portrait using post processing. That is after shooting the image. You can do so by using the crop tool. Cropping a photograph though depends on lots of elements as not every crop works! Cropping depends on the sharpness, resolution and graininess of the original image. Close framing is successful when it does not feel accidental, however, expression in the eyes is important as well as the focus and sharpness.

There are two kinds of frontal face closeups, one is shooting when the subject is facing you and the second kind is when the subject is looking away (off camera). Close ups framing can balance the image and adds a lot of impact to it, however, the photographer should experiment with extreme framing so it won’t be boring especially when over done.

Head and Shoulders:

This style is taken from a medium distance. The photographer should work on avoiding the ordinary by varying the perspectives (horizontal shots, vertical shots, and turned at an angle slightly away from the camera shot). To avoid an ordinary shot; the photographer should try varying angles, varying width (including a background that would add to the subject), varying locations (environment should be interesting and adds to the subject’s lifestyle) and even trying a silhouette image, it can make an evocative photo.

Full Figure:

When shooting using full figure portrait; the photographer has to capture the shape and language of the subject’s body as it is as important as the face. Again, the photographer should vary the angles and scenes to add to the variety of his/her portrait style.

Bibliography / References:

Heron, M. (2005) Photographing Children and Babies: How to take Great Pictures. New York: Allworth Press.


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