I’m hoping by now we’re all thinking a little more about what we’re photographing so I’m going to give you a few tips that I find helpful when I’m photographing people.
1) Composition: When starting out, it is very tempting to want to place what you are photographing in the centre of the image. Try moving the person off to one side of the frame. Either slightly to the left or to the right of the picture. Experiment a little and see what works best.
2) Focus: It is often said that the eyes are the windows to the soul. In portraiture work, where the eyes can be seen, make sure the eyes are in focus. This is very important.
3) Perspective: Try to photograph your subjects at eye level. If you’re taller than your subject, bend so you’re looking straight at them and if you’re not as tall as your subject, have them sit or stand on something.
4) Background: It is very easy to get carried away focusing on your subject but remember to watch the backgrounds. A distracting background can ruin your image just as easily as a bad portrait. Avoid poles and other things sticking out of ears and heads.
5) Size: While it is common to have the face, neck and shoulders in a portrait, do not be afraid to fill the frame with the face of your subject. Some people have striking features and you may want to include just the eyes and nose alone. That’s fine.
These are by no means rules, rather they are guidelines to get you started on your portrait photography. Take them, leave them or even twist them, but most of all, keep shooting, stay safe and have fun.
Here is a beauty shot that was done taking into account some of the above tips. All distractions were removed to leave the face as the centre of attention.