Tips and Tricks on Portrait Photography Ideas

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Portrait photography is considered a genre of photography that allows the photographer to express their emotions in the most creative and profound ways. This article brings you some great portrait photography ideas for your Instagram feed, any other social media, or your portfolio.

They say that a good photograph is first clicked in the mind of the photographer. To master the art of portrait photography you need to take note of a few tips and tricks. It requires the perfect equipment, setting, lights, backdrops, and poses.

What You’ll Need to Click the Perfect Portrait

Before we dive into portrait photography ideas, let us first take a look at the equipment you will need to click the perfect portraits.

1. Lights

LIghts can make or break a photograph. One of the most critical components of portrait photography is lighting.
You will need various kinds of lights like Speedlight, continuous Light, strobe light, and modifiers.
Suggested brands for the best lights for portrait photography are Nikon, Canon, and Elinchrom.

There are two types of lights – soft and hard. Soft lighting is better for portrait photography.

To Achieve Softer Lighting

Add a “diffuser” to your setting. A diffuser is a large translucent object that is to be placed between your object and light source.

Use the “Bouncing and Reflecting” technique. To do this, place your object and light source in a way that the object only receives bounced or reflected light. You can achieve this by placing the object a little farther away from the light source.
Learn more about the positions and directions of light before clicking your portraits.

2. Tripod

A tripod stand is a must-have to click portrait photographs. A solid tripod will stable your camera and eliminate any motion blurs. It will ease the process.

If you don’t already have a good tripod, go through this buyer guide for the best camera tripods to invest in.

3. Camera Remote

The difference between a good and an amazing photograph is a few seconds. Moving too much to change a setting on the camera might result in you missing the perfect picture moment.

A remote will allow you to change the settings, set and reset the timer, and also activate the shutter from wherever you are.

4. The Perfect Lens

Portrait photography can be done using any camera and any lens if you know the tips and tricks of the art. However, there are a few special lenses for the same. Adding these lenses to your kit will up your portrait photography game tenfold.

This buyer guide for the best portrait photography lenses will help you choose the best one according to your purpose and budget.

Portrait Photography Ideas

Let’s begin talking about inspiring portrait photography ideas. There are various types of portrait photography. You will find ideas for all the different types of portrait photography below.

Ideas for Portrait Photography

Studio photography is a little complicated since it is supposed to be very professional. In this style of portrait photography, you need to think of ideas that suit models of al genders.

1. Play with Reflections

Use various props to create reflections. A huge, fancy mirror or a broken one, a water pool or a puddle, and anything else that can create reflections. Try creating different poses with it. Experiment as much as you can.
A basic pose could be the model holding the mirror at an arm’s length. You could click a picture of just the reflection.

2. Full-length Shots

Place your camera at a good distance from the model. Don’t use any props and ask your model to strike their favorite pose. Tell them to be themselves and pose however they think they look best. Click a straight angle portrait.

You may add a fan facing the model to create the strong-breeze effect.

3. Play With Colored Lights

Placing different colored lights at creative angles can create an aesthetic setting. You can express various emotions using the colors and close-up shots.

You can use prisms to create different light effects. A cheap way to create a rainbow effect is to use a CD and a torch.

4. Use Discarded Frames

Portrait photography is appreciated for its perfect use of frames. To give a natural effect, use natural frames, for example, a door, a window, or an antique frame of a wall picture.

You may set up your studio in the ruins of an old building. You will get a lot of broken windows and empty doors there to shoot with.

Another take on this style could be taking the portraits in a car. Use the windows of the car as frames to get astonishing shots.

5. Play With Shadows

Shadows from different objects like a tree, a leaf, or a cloth/curtain can create a beautiful effect on your model. Experiment with different shaped objects to tell different stories through your pictures.

6. Experiment With Back Lights

Placing a light behind the model will create a nice silhouette effect. This effect can be used to make the model look like someone else and portray a deeper emotion.

You may add the above-mentioned techniques to this style of portrait photography according to your creativity. You can add the shadows and the natural frames to the silhouette and create raw natural effects.

7. Focus on Small Features

The belief that the face of the model is the most important part of a portrait may not be completely true. You might want to try focusing on other features of your model, for example, their hands.

Help the model place their hands on their face in a way that draws attention to their eyes. Use fancy eye lenses to create a mesmerizing effect.

Taking pictures of the movement or from the back can also look appealing if matched with the perfect backdrop and lighting.

Tips to Master These Portrait Photography Ideas

  • You can’t perfect the art without practice. It is suggested that you practice on self-portraits using different styles and ideas first, and only then begin working with models.
  • Before clicking the pictures make sure you’ve chosen your subject in the frame and your camera focuses solely on it.
  • Don’t click pictures on just any location. Pick the perfect one after analyzing the emotion and story you want to be seen through your picture. Avoid shooting in direct sunlight as it can cause light burns on your picture and also make your model squint, ruining the intended expression.
  • It is important to get the pose right. Think about it and clear all confusion. Your model must completely understand your intention with the photograph. This will enhance the picture’s impact.
  • Learn how to use your camera and all other equipment to prevent any blunders. Set the color palette for your photograph and choose the lights and backdrop accordingly.

Break the Rules!

The most important rule of all is to break all the rules. Be as authentic as you can. Let your creative juices flow and enjoy the process. Only after a lot of failures can one learn to make no mistakes. Happy shooting!

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Marco Downs

Marco Downs

Marco Downs is our second founder and he is the creative head of this website. Marco stumbled upon photography only in college when he joined the photography club. His parents could never afford a camera for him as a child and it was in college that he saved up and bought his first camera. He now writes in-depth buyer guides and informational articles to assist the buyers. 
Marco Downs

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