The term portrait may refer to Portrait Painting and Portrait Photography both – here, the facial expression of the subject is captured by the painter or the photographer. People interested in a career in portrait photography should know the basics of this subject and maintain these guidelines while taking pictures of people.
Portrait photography has many branches; let's learn about them first.
Different types of Portrait Photography:
Portrait photography is further classified under four main sections:
- Facial Shots
- Upper Body Shots
- Environmental Portrait
Professional photographers always try to capture the true self of a person through photography. However, with a camera focusing on the face, people become nervous and make faces that do no represent their real personality or the mood. And the photograph looks artificial.
An expert photographer would follow his own tricks to make the person feel comfortable and relaxed so that the right facial expression is captured. As a photographer you have to make the subject feel easy and not worried about the camera. While taking pictures of professional models, you do not need to worry at all as they are quite trained on how to face the camera. But general people became very much camera-conscious during photo shoot. Here, to capture natural photographs, you have to take few snaps without making them aware. You may go through portrait photography tips to know more about such tricks.
Some easy and widely practiced tricks are listed below:
Ask your subject to get ready for a photograph; let them prepare for the snap; and then take a
picture. Now as the shutter moves up and down and your subject starts to relax, take few more
snaps very fast. This would help you capture their true persona.
Some professionals tell funny jokes while taking pictures to ease up the situation; some ask the subjects to engage in some easy and fun activities and take the snaps when the person is unaware of the camera.
The activities may depend on the age of the subject. For example, if you are taking a portrait of a child, ask him or her to look at a picture and count number of circles in it. OR ask them to play with toy, solve a puzzle or copy an easy illustration.
Tackling children is quite easy than adults. A mature person is very much aware of the situation and knows that you are trying to distract his mind from the camera. Here, you may need to choose some other tricks.
Some professional portrait photographers prefer to chat with their subject for hours before taking them to the shooting floor. You can engage someone to talk with the subject when you prepare your camera, lens and lights. You can also ask them to continue talking when you take pictures.
You can also think of some tricks of your own OR consult professional portrait photographers for more effective ideas. Many such methods, tips and tricks of portrait photography are available online. You can go through online photography tutorials or attend workshops to know more about portrait photography.