People Pictures

Simple Tips For Taking Better Portraits

Most of us carry a camera wherever we go. We take pictures of ourselves, our children and our friends. We share them on social media, save them on our phones and occasionally print them out to frame. There are many types of cameras, but regardless of the camera you use, here are some tips to keep in mind for taking better photographs of people. 

You can make your photo more interesting if your subject is NOT in the middle of the picture. In photography we often use the rule of thirds which visually divides a picture into nine equal squares, like a tic tac toe grid. Try putting your subject on one of those dividing lines, either horizontally or vertically for a more interesting composition. If you’re taking a close up of a person’s face, compose the photograph so their eyes are on the upper third line. Minimize distractions in the photograph by either making your subjects fill the frame or make it look like they are alone at the location. 

Be aware of the natural light in your scene and try to use it to your advantage. When taking pictures with my phone I usually face my subjects into the sunlight so they are well lit. When I take pictures with my DSLR, I often use the sun to backlight my subject’s hair and create a beautiful glow around them. 

Here are four additional tips to keep in mind to take more flattering photos of the people we love. 

Tip 1. Try different angles. You have probably heard that it’s more flattering when taking a selfie to hold your cell phone higher than your shoulder and shoot down on yourself. Photographing down on your subject emphasizes the eyes and minimizes the chin. To create the appearance of long legs, photograph from a low level. It’s easy to photograph everything at eye level but more interesting to take pictures from different angles so don’t be afraid to experiment. 

Tip 2. If it bends, bend it. Your parents may have taught you to stand up straight but for a more interesting photograph, bend something. Try shifting your weight to one hip or bend a knee. Put your hands in your pockets or on your waist to help your elbows bend. Lean against anything. Cross your legs or feet if you’re sitting. Tilt your head a little. Find a way to be comfortable, not standing up straight, and it will look better in your photo. 

Tip 3. Lens choice matters. Do you dislike the way you look in selfies? Phones are designed with wide angle lenses which create distortion when photographing any object up close. For a more flattering look, back up and zoom in. Portrait photographers prefer using longer lenses like a 85mm or 105mm for the most flattering lens compression. Here are three photos taken with different lenses to show how different a face can look depending on which lens is used. 

Tip 4. Try to capture emotion. We’ve all stood there and said cheese, then didn’t like the photo afterwards. Strive to capture the spirit of the person you’re photographing. A genuine smile, laugh, look of love, attitude or caring will always remind you of the moment that picture was taken. Those are the memories we all want to have and share with other. Enjoy your photography and have fun with it. I hope you find these tips helpful.

StephanieSnowPhotography.com. 305.849.3186. StephanieSnowPhoto@yahoo.com.

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