- White reflectors produce very soft light for gently filling in shadows.
- Gold reflectors produce very strong, warm light that’s quite dramatic.
- Silver reflectors produce quite intense light, not unlike a camera’s flash.
- Black anti-reflectors help increase shadows. A black reflector can be used to reduce light on one side, which, in turn, casts gentle shadows on one side of the model’s face.
- Translucent reflectors are used as a diffuser, softening the lighting.
- Reignite Your Love of Photography With These Simple Tips
- What To Do If You Want Better PhotosWhat To Do If You Want Better Photos
Portraits might seem straightforward - just aim your camera at a person, have them say cheese, and press the shutter button, right?
To get the most impactful portraits, you need to focus on composing a compelling image. You also need to consider how to present your portraits in an impactful manner.
With these four simple ways to improve portraits, you’ll learn how to do just that.
Your walls deserve beautiful prints. Get your portraits printed today.
Ways to Improve Portraits: Add Depth
photo by scyther5 via iStock
Too many portraits look like the one above in which the model is simply standing in front of a wall or a backdrop.
Though this image is perfectly fine, it isn’t all that compelling because there’s no visual interest behind the subject. Granted, you don’t want the background to compete with the model, but you don’t want it to be boring, either.
What’s more, there’s no depth to this image which only causes it to be that much more boring.
photo by MStudioImages via iStock
This portrait, on the other hand, has what the first one is lacking.
By changing the positioning of the model and adjusting the point of view of the camera to look down the wall rather than at it, we get a portrait that has a little background interest and loads of depth to it.
Notice how this image makes use of leading lines to accentuate that depth. You can do the same in your portraits, and all that’s required is simply changing the positioning of the camera!
Ways to Improve Portraits: Watch Your Framing
photo by filadendron via iStock
We all know that the star of a portrait should be the model. But sometimes we can be so focused on how they look, how they’re posed, what our camera settings are, and so forth, that we neglect to see distractions in the frame that degrade the quality of the shot.
In other words, take a few moments to double-check your framing to ensure that there are no distractions that take attention away from the model.
For example, the portrait above suffers from a background that’s far too busy. Between the gridlines on the glass and the reflection of the light on the glass, there’s just too much going on.
A better idea for this photo would have been to move to the left or right and shoot down the glass wall, as was discussed in the previous section.
photo by BartekSzewczyk via iStock
As another example, this portrait would be better served had the camera been slightly higher or lower.
As it is, the horizon line bisects the man’s head, which looks a little strange and is distracting on top of that.
Again, though the background of a portrait isn’t supposed to be the star of the show, it still needs to be spot-on if you’re going to improve your portraits.
Have portraits that look like a million bucks? See what they look like as fine art.
Ways to Improve Portraits: Use a Reflector
photo by Alina Demidenko via iStock
If you want better portraits but aren’t ready to invest in a bunch of strobes, softboxes, and other lighting gear, get a reflector pack instead.
Reflector packs are cheap but they can have a profound impact on the quality of your portraits:
photo by NicolasMcComber via iStock
The result of that is portraits that have more visual appeal, plus, the experimentation you undertake with a reflector pack will help you improve your creative eye and learn how to hunt for the best light. That’s a good thing!
Ways to Improve Portraits: Print Them Out
I love the fact that we live in the digital age. It’s been great for photography in terms of opening it up to so many people.
But the problem with digital photography is that often we take photos and forget them. They stay on our phones or memory cards, never to see the light of day.
I’m not advocating that we print out every single photo we take, but the ones that mean something...yeah, those should be printed.
I’ve mentioned before how much I love canvas prints. My house is full of them, and I would suggest that any budding photographer give canvas a try for printing out their favorite portraits.
I did a canvas comparison a couple of weeks back, and the big winner was CanvasHQ. Again, I’d recommend using them to have a couple of portraits printed out.
What makes canvas special - particularly if it’s from CanvasHQ - is that it looks so classic and timeless.
CanvasHQ uses high-grade inks that are colorful and contrasty, yet look natural and inviting.
The texture of the canvas is beautiful too - it adds just a slight hint of interest to the print without being overwhelming.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how well put together these canvases are.
Though you don’t see the frame, CanvasHQ ensures that they are stick-straight and perfectly square, that way the canvas stretches properly and stays that way for generations.
It’s really a viewing experience when it comes down to it.
Your improved portraits on the wall in a beautiful large format canvas - what could be better!
If you want to see improvement in your portraits, follow these tips, get a couple of prints, and relish in getting to look at your handiwork each and every day!