Taking portraits

05Aug13

Portrait photographs, taking pictures of people posing or doing things.  This has been a cornerstone of the art form since the first cameras were created in the early 1800’s. Portraits can be many things,  simple picture for a book cover, a group portrait for a sports team, through to glamour photographs. Many people find getting a good portrait photo a tough challenge, this can be for many many different reasons. I’m not going to try and figure out every one of them, but try and offer a couple of little tricks that I have found to help me when doing  portraits/people photos. One of my biggest dislikes about portrait photos is i generally find them to be boring so i’m not engaged with my subjects. The main reason is most people want very formal type stand in one pose, get a picture and it all looks very boring and this regimented style of photography does nothing for me.

558483_263992673703739_913175749_n For me,  i like to have fun, so if i am photographing a formal event such as a ball where everyone lines up with their partner and gets a pic or two taken. I find having the camera on a tripod and not moving anywhere places a big barrier between you and the people you are photographing so it makes communication easier not stepping out from a tripod to get people to do something, and it makes it easier to have a little fun with your subjects.

People tend to relax more when there are no big barriers between you, and also if you can move around they will move too.

540124_262923027144037_323226348_n One other thing i like to do with groups and portraits, is use props. The couple on the left stood 558479_262923047144035_502425081_n there, and yes its a pretty picture but that is all it is, yet the same couple in the pic on the right using the props, are having fun and yes its still a pretty picture, but there is more to it.  I have a few things i put down around my setup, then encourage people to use them, a picture frame, creates some fun images, as does adding things like a small parasol umbrella, or anything small, light that can be picked up and used.

393529_263011897135150_959493867_n       Bigger groups of say 4 or more people can be really fun, yes its nice to get a pic of you and your friends standing together looking sharp, but again, it is just a picture of some people standing around, i like to encourage people to do something different, like the 2 groups below, poses and doing different things really highlight people having fun.

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Portraits and group pictures do not have to be boring, have fun, encourage your subjects to do different things and their fun will come through in the pics

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