How to make a good portrait?
How to make a good portrait?
Today's post is an answer to the ever-arising question of how to take good portrait photos. The tips I present below are my thoughts based on the experience I have gathered so far.
I do not focus only on the portrait, as everyone has in mind (face, bust), but on the broadly understood photographing of people at photo sessions. So, consider the post below as a collection of my tips on how to photograph people well.
This time there won't be a word about the hardware. I focus only on practice; cooperation with the photographed person, observation of the surroundings and light.
Interaction, relaxation, good atmosphere, trust and getting to know the person.
The first and one of the basic principles. The person we photograph must feel good and at ease. She cannot be tense and nervous. Such photos end disastrously.
Even if I work with people dealing with professional modeling, the sessions are always preceded by a conversation. Usually initiated electronically and continued with a photo shoot.
The same applies to beginners. I always explain that I will help them in the right setting and if something is wrong, I will correct it immediately. This is very important to them because they don't feel confident enough to "sweep" in front of the lens. This is how I build trust.
I always continue the conversation while shooting. A simple matter that will take the sessions to the subconscious level. Then the photographed person often relaxes completely and thanks to this it is easy to spot very natural poses that look the best. Often, during such chats, I will catch a great positioning of the person standing in front of the lens and if I do not manage to take the picture, please do this again. Then I know that this is an attitude in which the person feels great.
2. Appropriate selection of place, style and time.
Another very important aspect that should be devoted to a few longer sentences. Without a suitable place, even the best and most beautiful model will not help. This principle applies when the blurring of the background shows the elements of the environment in such a way that they affect the reception of the photograph.
When choosing a place, you should always choose it according to the person you are photographing or vice versa; person to a given place. I cannot imagine photographing a woman in a long dress against the background of graffiti. Unless the photography is to convey a specific message, e.g. by means of contrast. As I mentioned, it is best to choose the place for the photographed person. So that it fits this location. She identified with it to some extent. To all this, you should add styling that fits into the whole.
If we work with professional models and we have a project / vision to implement, the place must be selected in terms of styling, while the model must feel the atmosphere.
It is different with time. It can be matched to the session concept. That's what I did for the morning session with steaming ponds. If, however, the time does not matter, it is worth taking photos during the golden hour or at any time on a cloudy day. Then the light is neutral and gentle, which results in nicely lit photos.
There is no need to be limited only to shooting in the golden hour or only on a cloudy day. If you only have a vision of photos in bright sunlight and you want to achieve the desired effect, why not? This is what I did in the case of sessions in bright sunlight with Kasia. However, I do not recommend this solution to beginners. It is not easy and you have to do it very consciously, but I still recommend experimenting because I know from experience that this is the best and fastest way to success (of any kind).