All artistic representation has always found the human face endlessly fascinating. Portrait photography seeks to capture the face and its expression predominantly. The way the eyes speak, the way the facial muscles seem to say so much with so little effort, the interplay of light and shadow, the possibilities with portrait photography are endless! Here is what you should know about taking portrait photos.
1. Tell a story
More than any other kind of picture, a portrait should try to tell a story. It should be able to convey more than just an image; it should ideally tell you about the personality of the person and even the mood they’re in at the time that the photo is taken. A portrait can be about a person and their interaction with their background as well.
2. Lighting is vital
As in any kind of photography, lighting is vital for portraiture as well. The most commonly used feature for portraiture is three-point lighting. Three or four lights are used to light up the subject fully and to try and bring about an effect of depth. The three lights usually used are:
- Key light, which is the main or brightest light, usually placed 30 to 6o degrees off center.
- The fill light that fills in the shadows on the side of the face, is less bright than the key light.
- The back light is placed behind the subject is mostly placed at a higher level than the other lights.
- Sometimes the ‘kicker’ light may be used as well.
3. Practice self portraits
Using a tripod and a timer, preferably a remote controlled one, try taking self portraits. This can be a learning experience and tends to open up the imagination to more possibilities.
4. Place the subject right
Very interesting effects can be created by simple placement of the subject. The outdoors can present a lot of varied possibilities. But even the indoors, such as corners or a room, the side of an open window or interesting silhouettes, still, dark backgrounds can make for some very evocative shots.
5. Check Flickr
Some of the most innovative and unusual portraiture ideas exist on the net and many of them converge at flickr.com. Amateurs, professionals, artistic individuals, merely enthusiastic individuals can all help in offering creative ideas in terms of contrast, composition, uniqueness of perspective and angle and so on which can be inspiring.