Portrait photography: the art of expressing personality in picture

The art of portrait photography is designed not only to capture the face of a person but also to show his character, emotions, experiences, and feelings. That is why the category of portraits includes pictures of various plans. If the photographer seeks to show the personality of the model, it is usually an artistic portrait, which has its atmosphere. How to catch that very moment when the personality and character of a person peep through in an ordinary image? There are several recommendations for this.

How to show a personality in a frame?

  • Don’t be afraid to use retouching. Such tools as online face editor RetouchMe allow you to improve the image without disturbing the texture of the photo. With their help, you can even out skin tone, improve the model’s facial oval, remove pimples, etc. Since the editing is done by professionals, it will look as organic as possible. Knowing that minor imperfections in appearance can be easily corrected makes it easier for the model to relax and open up to her true emotions.
  • Focus on the eyes. The eyes are considered the mirror of the soul – an expressive portrait emphasizes this part of the face. Often the look conveys what mimicry is silent about: mischief, joy, sadness, etc. The play of sunlight in the eyelashes and other details can make the portrait even more expressive.
  • Refuse clichés. Many people, when thinking about portrait photography, remember the typical approach of many photographers: all participants line up and say “Cheese”. You get stilted poses, strained smiles, and most importantly, zero reflection of personality. It is better to let the model do what she does best or what she would like to do at the moment. In this case, no one is forbidden to influence the mood of the hero of the shooting with communication. Such a portrait turns out to be individual, more relaxed, and easy.
  • Use lighting. Light is the basis of photography. When skillfully used, it allows you to create a really deep atmosphere. For example, diffused or contrasting light will emphasize the seriousness of the model, and bright sunlight will give the appearance of unexpected lightness, and friendliness.
  • Experiment with colors. The most dramatic are black and white shots. Trying shooting in this style is worth every portraitist. Modern programs allow you to instantly change the palette of the finished frame, but black and white photos are better to make from the beginning since they require a slightly different approach. The palette of shades complements the mood of the photo and can serve as a metaphorical expression of the model’s personality. Therefore, you should not neglect color photos either.
  • Take a wider frame. Pay attention to the background. By expanding the boundaries of the frame, the photographer can see details that better reveal the character and personality of the model, her current mood, and the peculiarities of a particular situation. Swirling leaves or falling petals, as if parting on the street houses, paintings on the walls of the apartment – all these are your assistants in creating an artistic portrait.
  • Bring the model into her comfort zone. This is a great technique, especially relevant for people who find it difficult to relax in front of the camera. To reveal the beauty of the personality and make the behavior more natural, it is enough to place the model in a familiar and pleasant environment. For example, you can show a person the occupation of his favorite hobby, move the shooting to his home, or simply talk about topics that are interesting to him.

A few tips

  1. Remember the technical component. In the pursuit of expressive shots, you should not forget about building the composition, using light accents, adjusting the depth of field, etc. Some shots can be further corrected by cropping or other photo editor tools, but many can be accidentally spoiled.
  2. Every person is interesting in their way. Many novice portrait photographers are recommended to look for professional models or just patient people with textured appearance. But this is an erroneous approach. Each person has personal characteristics worthy of attention, a special character, and an emotional palette. The ability to see this makes a photographer a real artist. Moreover, when a client comes to you for portrait photography, he is usually ready to talk about his expectations and ideas.
  3. Be inspired. You can see strong, expressive shots in the collections of famous professional photographers: Steve McCurry, Joe McNally, Annie Leibovitz, and others.

The main thing is not to forget about creative experiments, which will lead you on the path of mastery!

Posted by
Dharmesh Donda

iStaunch is written by Dharmesh Donda, an avid Internet geek, IT professional since 2012. Have been in IT industry for more than a decade, and currently doing management and consulting work have taken a plunge into entrepreneurship.

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