These Three Tricks Will Help You Create Beautiful Portraits

2fa71dffc14c387365b1b9a4b52ff8ce min image Smarita Vinnakota Photography

What makes a portrait beautiful?

That's both an easy and a hard question to answer...

On the one hand, there are certain features in a portrait that enhance the viewing experience, making it pleasing to view. That includes the composition, the framing, the lighting, and so forth.

On the other hand, how we view images is a personal process, so what one person deems breathtaking, another person might think that it's just okay.

Nevertheless, if you want to improve the quality of your portraits, there are a few things you can do.

Editor's Note: To illustrate each point, I use images from Sew Trendy Accessories and their affiliate photographers. Each image exemplifies qualities of a beautiful portrait, in addition to demonstrating how wardrobe and accessory choices can elevate the beauty and sophistication of the shot. To learn more about Sew Trendy's line of gowns, crowns, and other accessories, visit their website.

Get Outside

 image Abba Color Photography

If you ask me, there's no better way to create a gorgeous portrait than to head outdoors.

This isn't to say that studio portraits can't be gorgeous as well, I just tend to prefer outdoor portraits.

In looking at the example above, the model is beautiful and radiant.

Notice how the color of her gown mimics the color of the sunlight behind the clouds and in the reflection on the water.

Though this was a happy accident, it demonstrates how the interaction between the model (or, in this case, her wardrobe) with the environment helps to create an eye-catching portrait.

When taking outdoor portraits, try taking a few steps back to incorporate more of the setting into the shot.

 image Abba Color Photography

Something else to consider when shooting outdoor portraits is to find ways to incorporate texture.

In the image above, the ocean of plants surrounding the model helps give the portrait a great deal of depth and visual interest.

Also notice how in this instance, the model's dress provides a pop of color to the shot that is not repeated anywhere else in the frame, unlike the previous shot.

Either approach works, if you ask me!

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Use Depth of Field to Your Advantage

Lisa Viox Photography

When depth of field is mentioned for portraiture, the logical thing you think of is to use a shallow depth of field to blur the background.

Doing so helps you separate the subject from the background, bringing more attention to them in the frame, as seen above.

Not only that, but blurring the background helps minimize distractions like unsightly features, strange colors or weird shadows.

And while that's certainly a way that you can use depth of field to create a more compelling portrait, it isn't the only usage of a shallow depth of field.

 image Purest Light Photography

Instead, you can use a shallow depth of field to create an incredibly intimate portrait.

As seen in the image above, the baby's face is really the only thing in sharp focus.

Combined with the close-up view of the baby, this helps generate a shot that helps you feel like you're right there, looking at the baby yourself rather than looking at a photo.

That kind of intimacy is difficult to replicate in a photo, but if you use a very shallow depth of field, you can achieve this look.

Go for the Unexpected

 image Chelsea Haworth Photography

Something else you can do to increase the visual appeal of your portraits is to try something a bit unexpected.

If you think about it, the vast majority of portraits are taken in the same way - the model is looking at the camera and the photographer frames the shot as a close-up, a half-body image or a full-body image.

By approaching the framing of the shot differently - as seen in the image above - you can create a portrait that immediately grabs the attention of the viewer.

In this case, by inverting the woman in the shot and having her cradle her newborn inside her right arm, the photographer has created a photo that is both beautiful and highly memorable.

Try different perspectives, orientations, and points of view when you're taking portraits, and you'll likely find that playing with those aspects helps you create something even more beautiful!

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