Portrait Photography is probably the most common type of photography we all do specially in the age of cellphones. We are almost constantly taking pictures of our kids and loved ones. While portrait photography can be hard to master, it is relatively easy to get pretty good at it.
Types of Portraits
- Facial shots. As the name indicates - you are shooting just the face and maybe some neck.
- Upper body portraits. Shooting waist and up. Make sure not to cut those hands off!
- Full body portraits. Shooting either toes and up or at least just below knees and up. Mind those toes!
Styles of Portraits
- Candid. When the subject appears not to be paying attention.
- Posed. When the subject appears to be posing.
- Environmental. When the subject is the environment they most belong to. Like a hiker in the mountains, a swimmer in the pool and kids in a mess :-)
- Group. Yes, bunch of people.
Tips for making better portraits
- Use a focal length of 70mm plus to get good flattering images of faces
- Don't chop of fingers or hands specially in an upper body portraits
- Don't chop toes or feet in full body portraits
- Shoot faces with a little of neck. If you want to include shoulders then best is to go down upto the waist and try to get hands in the frame.
- For a really close and effective crop, it is OK to chop the top of the head off!
- Focus on people's eyes and if you want to recompose then keep the shutter pressed halfway so that the focus does not change and move the camera around to compose what you want to be in the photo.
- Having the subject not look directly at the camera is an effective technique even if the shot isn't candid
- Bend down on your knees - the camera should be at the chest level of the subject - specially important when taking pictures of kids