- Easy Tips for Better Maternity Photography
- Incredibly Easy Maternity Photography Tips to Take Your Photos to the Next Level
What makes a good portrait?
It's an interesting question because what one person likes, the next person might not.
After all, each of us has our own particular tastes when it comes to what we like.
Then again, there are some hallmark traits that all good portraits have. In this article, I'd like to share a few of them.
Editor's Note: The images used in this article were shared with us by Sew Trendy Fashion & Accessories. As one of the premier clothing manufacturers for the photography industry, Sew Trendy knows all about helping photographers create good portraits. To explore their collection of maternity wear, non-maternity dresses and gowns, girls dresses, newborn clothing, and more, click here.
Good Portraits Have a Strong Subject
Adam Opris Photography
All good portraits have a strong subject. But the reasons why a subject is strong can vary.
In the image above, the model is a strong subject for two primary reasons.
First, her placement in the frame above the photographer helps give her a more powerful presence in the shot.
Second, the dress she's wearing helps draw our attention to her, both because of its color and because its train is cascading down the steps.
Becca Rillo Photography
Another way to increase the visual strength of your subject is to simply zoom in or get closer.
In creating a close-up shot, you can eliminate distractions in the frame - particularly in the background - which forces the viewer's eye to spend more time inspecting the portrait subject.
You don't even have to be that close-up, either. Moving in a few feet to get a three-quarter shot of this mom-to-be allowed this photographer to highlight mom's hair, her facial features, and the texture of the gown she's wearing.
All of that adds up to a strong subject!
The Lighting Matters
Shanna Brophy Photography
Even though we all know that the lighting matters, I still see so many bad photos that are bad purely because of the light.
If you want the best portraits, pay attention to the lighting above all else.
Shoot at golden hour to capitalize on the warm tones of the sunlight, as was done in the image above.
Its soft rays will illuminate your model, make them glow, and do so without harsh shadows.
And if you shoot in a studio, there's no reason not to have perfect lighting.
After all, you can control how much light there is, where it shines, its color temperature, and so forth.
As you're creating the portrait, try not to get lost in the other details of composition, framing, posing, and so forth. Save some time to get the perfect lighting, and you'll have a much better portrait!
Editor's Note: Using props in your portraits can add an element of interest that elevates your images to the next level. This is especially true of newborn photography. Get gorgeous newborn photography props here.
Sometimes, Good Portraits Break the Rules
Courtney Eick Photography
Another thing that can turn a good portrait into a great portrait is to follow your gut instincts and throw the traditional rules out the window.
Look at the image above, and note how the subject is placed smack in the middle of the frame.
This violates the rule of thirds, which suggests that you shift the subject to the left or right of center.
Yet, despite the rule-breaking, this is an eye-catching photo.
Sarah Wood Photography
And again, in this shot, we see how placing the subject in the middle of the frame breaks the rule of thirds.
The whole point of the rule of thirds is to help create a more balanced shot. Yet, in these instances, you can see how placing the subject right in the middle can create a balanced shot as well.
There are other factors in these images that help overcome the rule-breaking. For instance, both women are wearing colorful gowns which help draw our attention to her.
Another factor that helps these images is the framing that's provided by the background details. In both shots, the plant life contains our attention on the primary subject, helping to elevate these images to the next level, even though they both break the rules.
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