3 Tips for Better Portrait Photos

By Loura Lawrence with developingfocus.com

Portrait photography is an important part of the art of photography. A relative who recently had portraits done, featured the photographer’s gallery on a social media page. I love good portraits and I am always interested in other photographer’s work. Plus I just like looking at pretty pictures. So I browsed through the gallery.

This photographer had fantastic architectural and landscape images — photos I only dream about making some day. They were colorful, artistic, and stunning which is why I was surprised when I saw the photographer’s portrait photos. Apparently, this was a new field for this photographer, but the portraits could have been made much better by following these 3 tips for better portrait photos.

1. Get closer!

Unless having the subject in the background is what you are going for style-wise, it is a good idea to take a few steps closer in order to isolate your subject. However, if you do want to include the background, just take a couple of steps back. This is the first tip you need to consider when it comes to good portraits.

This photo could be made even better by stepping closer, or cropping the distracting blanket.

Including the background tells a very different story from the first picture!

2. Try for Natural Light

Making better portrait photos is all about lighting, and people just look better in natural sunshine. Taking photos outside or near a sunny window will typically result in better portrait photos, than relying on the light of a lamp or a typical straight-on camera flash. Professional photo studios use all kinds of flashes, reflectors and lighting tools in an attempt to re-create natural light indoors.

3. Framing is Essential

Framing helps direct a viewer’s eye towards the subject to be photographed. The most commonly used frames are trees, windows or even buildings. Good portrait photos require some attention in regard to framing, so keep this in mind.

IMG_3204_1a

The grasses on the foreground, lead the viewer’s eye to the people on the bridge.

Here, the playground equipment frames the couple.

Artificial frames can also be added later in photo retouching software, such as this vignette.

To summarize, these are the 3 tips for better portrait photography that you can use to make stunning portrait photos. Remember that photography tells a visual story. Good portrait photography should tell the story of the person whose photos are being taken. Backgrounds and props can be important, as they add to the sense of the subject’s story, personality and style. These elements should be balanced with full-framed photos of the subject as well.

View more of our portraits here: Developing Focus Portraits

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