Live Chat M-F 9am-5pm

Portrait Photography: 5 Tips For Taking A Great Portrait

Curators’ corner

Portrait Photography: 5 Tips For Taking A Great Portrait

With the holidays coming up and our portrait photography contest winding down, we figured this would be a good time to provide a few tips for shooting portraits. Whether you’re going for gold in the contest or just snapping family photos around the Christmas tree, follow these five simple tips for a better shot.

Connect with your subject – First thing’s first: don’t be creepy or awkward with the camera. Be personable, fun and casual. If you’re conducting a professional photo shoot, spend the first 10-15 minutes with your camera to the side. Pointing a camera at someone’s face can be overwhelming both for you and your subject, so it’s important to first establish communication and trust. Take it from renowned photographer and Duggal client E. Lee White, who is a master of corporate and celebrity portrait photography.

“I tell my clients that I’m strictly there to make them look good,” White says. “I try to be the ultimate professional and continuously bring more to the table, whether it’s the latest technology or an enhanced atmosphere.”

© E. Lee White

© E. Lee White

Capture a range of expression – By making your subject feel comfortable, you allow yourself to see their true personality through your lens. No need to overthink your composition; shoot away and capture a full range of expression so you have more to work with when you get to editing. Your subject doesn’t always have to be looking directly at the camera, either.

© Tomer Merav

© Tomer Merav

Focus on the eyes – “Focus on the eyeballs, not the face,” says Duggal expert and photo buff Ryan Speth. “If your focus lands elsewhere on the face, you instantly lose that connection.”

This may seem like a given, but it’s easy to forget while shooting. And again, this doesn’t mean that you’re confined to a straight shot. A portrait of someone looking at something unseen outside of the frame can be very intriguing, as can a shot of them interacting with something in the frame.

© Michael Fournier

© Michael Fournier

Window light is your friend – Another tip from Speth, use window light to your advantage whenever possible. Window light – especially north and south facing – provides the type of directional, diffused lighting that just plain makes your life easier than unfiltered sunshine or artificial light.

Side note: if you’re shooting outdoors, go for the magic hour or a cloudy day.

© Yuvaraj Parasuraman

© Yuvaraj Parasuraman

Keep it simple – Here’s a word directly from Fstoppers that we really love:

“It is very easy to get carried away with settings and gear. Oftentimes, the best advice is to take one lens and one camera body on a shoot. The less gear, the easier it is to concentrate on every other aspect. People are not interested in seeing a technically perfect portrait. They want to see a creative portrait.”

© Pranab Basak

© Pranab Basak

With that, we encourage everyone to have some fun and enter our portrait contest, open through Nov. 30. Good luck!

Submit a comment