Tips For Getting A Great Portrait

At the getting a great portrait starts right from What do you know about the person in front of the camera? Are they related to you? Do you know what they do for a living? All this is important about to know as If you want to take a good portrait then you need to tell a good story. Identifying with your subject helps you connect with them which in turn, puts them at ease.

For getting a great portrait the following things should not be neglected:-


Whether you are shooting digital, 35mm, medium format or large format, the camera you have now if just fine for portraits if it allows you to change lenses and control exposure. The lens is probably more important than the camera. Selecting the best portrait lens depends on knowing in advance, the kind of portrait you are going to make.

Short focal length lenses such as wide angle and "normal" lenses in the 28 to 50 mm range are usually not appropriate unless you want to do an environmental portrait. In these cases, you will want less of the person and more of the environment around them. Short telephotos are usually the first choice for a portrait lens. Lenses in the 100mm range usually allow you to get far enough away from your subject so that they will not feel like you are crowding them. Long telephotos in the 300 to 400mm range are my favorites and the choice of most fashion photographers.


If you are working in a studio, you will probably want to use a strobe or hot light. Anything can work here, from on-camera flash to a full-blown four-light setup. Outdoors, high overcast is great portrait light. Here you may want to practice subtractive lighting. Instead of using additional fill light, place the subject facing an open sky and then use a row of trees or an awning to block light from any two sides to shape the natural light falling on the face.


Unless you are shooting digitally, you will need film. Thanks to advances from the film companies, monochrome films can now be developed using conventional C41 processes. Kodak's Portra B & W film is my favorite in this class. Kodaks Portra B & W film is good for portraits because it has wide latitude and muted contrast.


When you want to make a portrait, try to schedule enough time to get to know your subject. Provide them with a clothing checklist. Long sleeved turtle necks or crew necked sweaters are very flattering. Solid colors are better than patterned clothing. Women should wear basic, understated makeup. Both men and women should avoid prominent jewelry. You should study the subject and look for problem areas. This will help you decide where to place the camera relative to the subject. If the subject is sitting, place them on the edge of their seat.

The head and shoulders should point in the same direction. The head should be tilted towards the lower shoulder, so that it is perpendicular to the slope of the shoulder. The face and body should be turned towards the light. A variation on this theme is to turn the body away from the light and the face toward the light. Smiles and expression are also very important. There are some tricks you can use to get a natural smile. First ask the subject to lick their lips. It helps make the lips shine and gets them used to using their mouth. Then say something like...Okay give me just a hint of a smile. Take the picture and then immediately say...Oh come on, that's fake. This will usually cause the subject to break out into a natural grin.

Hence all the above tips on will really help you in getting