- How to Take Better Portraits in Five Steps
- 9 Can’t-Miss Portrait Photography Tips That Will Help You Create Better Portraits Today
If you think that taking a portrait is as simple as pointing your camera at a model and pressing the shutter button, think again!
Portrait photography is incredibly nuanced, and demands that you not only have the skills to compose a great shot and dial in the correct camera settings, but that you also pay attention to the little details.
In fact, it's often the little details that make or break the shot...
In the video above, Jessica Whitaker outlines ten portrait photography tips that will help you improve the quality of your photos.
Many of her tips are innovative and unique, and will help you keep tabs on those all-important details in your portraits.
I've outlined a few of Jessica's tips below, and for a complete rundown of her portrait photography tips, be sure to watch the video above!
Portrait Photography Tip: Watch the Model's Hair
Yes, your model's hair should be styled and looking good for a portrait.
That's true whether you're taking a portrait of your kid in the backyard or of a professional model for a fashion shoot.
Particularly for models with long hair, pay attention to how the hair falls to his or her shoulders and beyond.
The last thing you want is stray hair piling up below the model's chin; instead, bring it flat against the model's chest in a linear form, as shown above.
Likewise, make sure there aren't any "flyers," or strands of hair flying upward, especially from a part or a cowlick.
You can edit a lot of problems with hair in Photoshop, but if you pay attention to these details when you're shooting, you can spare yourself some of the trouble of having to work on it in post-processing.
Pay Attention to the Exposure of the Hands
Though it sounds sort of strange, you need to be careful of the exposure of the model's hand, especially if they have fair skin.
That's because if the model holds their hand with the back of their hand to the camera, it might turn into an overexposed blob that distracts attention from their face.
The solution to this problem is easy - pose the hands such that the side of the hand is facing the camera, as shown above.
Not only does this minimize the surface area of skin that reflects light, but when photographing women, it also helps prevent their hands from looking inordinately large.
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Don't Shoot at Your Eye Level
First of all, if all the photos you shoot are from your eye level, you'll have a bunch of boring photos.
Secondly, by shooting from a slightly higher position, you create a more flattering look for the model, regardless of the shape or structure of their face.
That's because by looking slightly upward at your camera, they raise their chin, which helps prevent shadowing under the chin.
It also helps prevent wrinkles and double-chins from showing, so it's a trick that has a couple of very important benefits!
Whether you stand on your toes, on a stepstool, on a ladder, or something in between, getting a little bit of height to your shot can result in much more pleasing portraits.
You Don't Need a Big, Beautiful Setting
One of the best tips for portrait photography is that you don't need to look for big, sweeping settings to take a great portrait.
As you see in the video, Jessica takes some great shots in an alleyway that's littered with powerlines, trash dumpsters, and other things that have no business in a portrait.
But she finds just enough of a blank, black wall to fill the frame and capture a nice shot.
Sure, taking portraits on the beach or some exotic location is great, but in a pinch, just find a background that's big enough to fill the frame behind the model, and you'll be good to go!
Be sure to watch the complete video above for even more portrait tips.