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Let’s face it…
Between work, family, friends, and other obligations, none of us have a ton of time to work on perfecting our photography approach.
That’s why these portrait photography tips are so valuable!
If you’ve been wondering how to improve your portraits, this three-step process will help you elevate the quality of your photos in about five minutes.
How to Improve Your Portraits: Shake Things Up With Composition and Posing
Sorry, but photos like the one above are a total YAWN.
If you want to create portraits that have more life, vitality, and visual interest, throw the “let’s stand here and smile” thing out the window and try something a little more exciting.
Compositionally speaking, you can switch things up by altering the perspective from which you shoot.
For example, if you’re photographing kids, get down on their eye level (as shown above) so the rest of us can see the world from their point of view.
Likewise, by giving the model something to do or hold, you increase the chances of getting a more genuine, candid shot like the one above.
When posing the model, opt for more natural poses than standing stick straight in front of the camera.
Try having them sit, kneel, or even lay down. Give them something to lean against. Encourage them to let go and be relaxed. Cracking a few lame jokes will do wonders for helping the model let down their guard and appear more natural on camera!
Sometimes, the best portrait poses are those that occur by “accident,” so give the model a little direction regarding posing, keep the lame jokes going, and just keep on shooting! It only takes a few minutes to change your tune with composition and posing, but it can have a dramatic impact on the quality of your photos.
How to Improve Your Portraits: Find a Better Background
Sure, whoever you’re photographing is the most important part of the portrait, but if you think the background doesn’t matter, you’re wrong, my friend!
If the background is too colorful, too bright, too busy, or just plain ugly (like the one above), it won’t really matter how awesome the model looks because all people will see is the crazy background.
The background in a portrait should enhance the shot, not detract from it!
I love shooting portraits outdoors, but it isn’t always possible to find that perfect background for the shot. That’s why having a portrait backdrop or two is a must!
Think about it...what better way to improve the background of a portrait than having total control over what it looks like?
Better still, when places like Click Props Backdrops have hundreds of backdrops to choose from, you can literally find just what you need in a matter of minutes and have your perfect backdrop on its way to you.
Not only does having a few backdrops on hand help you control how your portraits look, but it’s also a sound investment for the long-term.
These backdrops are built like a tank with 550gsm vinyl that can take a beating
Seriously...you can track dirt and mud on them, walk on them in high heels, spill wine on them and have a grand ol’ time, and all you have to do is wipe them down and they’ll be ready to rock for the next portrait session.
That durability means these backdrops will be ready to rock for years and years to come. Did I mention these things look FANTASTIC too??
Take five minutes to see what Click Props Backdrops has in stock. Trust me - the hardest part will be deciding which backdrops are your favorites!
How to Improve Your Portraits: Tell a Story
Even though a portrait shows one, single moment in a person’s life, if you want to create something much more impactful, strive to tell a story with your image.
This goes back to the first tip in this tutorial - having the model stand there smiling at the camera isn’t just boring, but it doesn’t tell a story about that person at all either.
So the question is, how do you tell a story in a single image?
The answer is, there’s a lot of ways!You can alter the perspective from which you shoot to change the feeling of the shot.
Want to make the model look more powerful? Get down low and shoot up towards them.
Conversely, if you want to tell a story about vulnerability, get above the model and shoot down toward them.
You can add props to the shot to convey a particular emotion or feeling, swap out the backdrop to create a different vibe, brighten things up with lighting or remove lighting to create a deeper, darker look.
The point is that it only takes a couple of minutes to completely alter how the shot is composed, and that can help you tell a much different story from one image to the next - and a more powerful story at that.