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6 Portrait photography tips that every photographer should know

10 Common Mistakes You Face in Portrait Photography and Their Solutions

by Heena
May 9, 2014
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Who does not like to have one’s personal or family portrait hanging over the fireplace mantel or the bed? When portraits have so much value in one’s life, one would definitely not like to compromise with its quality and perfection.

Here are a few blunders you need to avoid in digital portraiture.

• Sit still!! Say cheese!!

Often we see portraits showing the subject sitting still with an artificial smile on the face. No matter how good the pose is, there is lack of naturalism. Present day portrait photography needs experimentation with the pose and background. Photographers try to capture the spontaneity of the subject. Adhering to age old posture can turn out to be a faux pas.

• Full length photographs

Portraits should communicate well with the viewer. An eye contact needs to be established between the inanimate and animate object. If one takes a full length photograph, this contact is hard to be established. For this, one needs to zoom to get at least 3/4th of the person in the picture. Focus should be on presenting the facial expressions with clarity.

• Hopping on to Photoshop

With this editing program, photographers can add a professional finish to the portrait but the artificiality cannot be done away with. To ensure the portrait to look more natural, you need to focus on the lighting. Perfect lighting can be achieved by the strategic use of flash, reflectors, diffusers, etc.

• Come out of the studio

Setting up an artificial set for the subject may seem a good idea, but the spontaneity is hard to achieve here. The subject may seem awkward in an unfamiliar environment. Getting out in the open or asking them to pose in their familiar environment like their living room or drawing room can help them too to open up.

Backdrop blunder

While shooting in the open, a portrait photographer needs to be alert to any abrupt intervention in the background. Sometimes any unwanted object like a bird or a gust of leaves can mar the beauty of the photograph. Then all you can do is be more relaxed and wait patiently for the perfect moment or try a second time.

• Shaky hand, blurry picture

Most often photographers struggle hard to avoid camera-shake while capturing a still or motion photograph. Even a slightly shaky hand can lead to blurring of the photo which is absolutely not excusable in case of portraits. Here, a tripod can come to your rescue. A tripod can help you achieve sharp and accurate shots.

• Mismatching the skin tone and background

A dark skin tone model may not go well with a dark background. If the lighting is properly managed, things may be a little different. Still, it is always advisable to contrast the background with the skin tone.

• Blending clothes with the backdrop

Just like skin tone, blending the colour of the clothing with the background is a mistake. It may not go down well with the onlooker. Contrast is the best option here too.

• Bright colours

Choosing bright and vibrant colours for clothing and background can be distractive. Subdued and solid colours look best in a portrait. They don’t reflect light as bright colours do.

• Imposing a pose

Imposing a pose on your subject can go terribly against you. You may have a great idea in your mind, but it is always wise to have an open talk with the person to be photographed and come to a mutual decision regarding the pose, background, clothing, etc.

If you understand and put into practice the above tips well, they will certainly help you get your picture a perfect shot.

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Hi, I am heena abbasi passionate about writing and photography.I work as a freelancer blog and photo artist.Thank to photosquare for giving me chance to post my articles here and provide me a platform.

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