Portrait photography refers to actually photography of a person, or even a group of people who are photographed the actual of their personality. The photographer can use effective lighting, backdrops, as well as posters. A portrait picture might be artistic. Generally, portraits tend to be specially made for special occasions, for example weddings, parties or school occasions and so on.
Portraits are an essential part of any story. They convey a sense of personality and humanity to a story which helps the viewer to identify with object. It can be a demanding picture to make because of the need for intimate interaction with the object.
There are many different approaches and styles to produce portrait photography and they can be the most rewarding. We have identified three types, the formal portrait, environmental portrait and observed portrait. The potential really is limited only to your imagination. Outlined below are a few established approaches to take portrait pictures, each of which have value in context with a particular story.
Professional Portraits Photography in Photo Story
- Formal Portrait: The object is totally under your control. You decide lighting, posture, distance etc… but in a way that still permits the personality of the object to come through. A good relationship with the object is helpful here.
- Environmental Portrait: This is similar to the formal portrait in that the object often knows he is being photographed but a lot more emphasis is placed on location. i.e. Portrait in the object’s workplace or a picture that reveals a lot more about the person due to the surroundings he is photographed in. A pilot next to aircraft or in the cockpit etc…
- Observed Portrait: This when the object does not aware of having his picture taken. A more candid approach to get that natural relaxed feeling to the picture. There is a lot of crossover between the different portrait styles to you could have an observed/environmental portrait or even an observed/formal portrait taken during a moment when the object maybe not aware you’re taking pictures. Again, there are no set rules in portraiture.
Every new object will make different demands on you so be prepared so that you know what you want to achieve and inspire confidence in your object.
- Know your equipment and check you have enough film, batteries etc.
- Talk with your object and explore picture opportunities so they feel involved but don’t let them get pushy and take control.
- Shoot lots of pictures to avoid the inevitable closed eyes and awkward expressions.
- Shoot both verticals, horizontals and from all different distances.
Note: What we have just discussed are the key elements of a picture story. Whilst the best stories often include many of the above types of pictures there are no set rules and the type of pictures you take is often determined by the object matter. It is possible for example to have a picture story of just detail pictures as mentioned before of just environmental or formal portraits. It is not essential to include every type of picture above. The key point is to be clear in your mind what you are trying to tell the viewer then decide how that is best achieved.
I hope this article will at least give some ideas to those who want to understand about portrait photography. I like taking picture and I will try the best I can to share what I know. Feel free to share and ask in the comments section for improving our photography together.
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Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures— Don McCullin