How a professional portrait photographer can weave magic…
Portrait photography has been around since the time the camera was first invented. It fast became the “in” thing that time since portrait painting, which was the standard way of capturing an image or portrait before photography came into the picture, was far more expensive, tedious and time consuming. Once the use of the camera spread, everyone then wanted to have their own portraits taken.
Family photos, clan photos, dating photos, profile photos, photos for corporate PR purposes and a whole lot more – these are what portrait photographers are really good at. After all, portrait photography is the process of capturing a likeness of a person or group of persons whereby their expressions – whether staged or candid – are highlighted. The goal of portrait photography is really that simple – to capture the personality, the mood, the similarity, the likeness, the facial expressions of a person or a group of persons. By the term alone, you would know that the focus of the photograph is the person’s face. This does not mean, however, that the background and the rest of the person’s body will no longer be included. It can still be a part of the entire photo but again, the focus will be on the face or faces.
Considering that portrait photography and its goals and objectives seem a bit ordinary or “doable” for many, one cannot help but wonder how professional portrait photographers can still weave their own magic to a portrait photo. Are there still secrets behind this art? What are the tips and tricks that a budding or even an existing portrait photographer should always bear in mind?
One thing that portrait photographers should remember is that while a lot of clients may use these portraits for their own personal use or as simple gifts or mementos, there also are people who may use these portraits for more formal purposes such as business documents (e.g. company’s annual report, promotional flyers, yearbooks showing members of the board, pamphlets or even for novels showing the author of the book) or even for government requirements as well. Hence, if you want to capture the best portraits, here are two elements of portrait photography that you should remember.
The first element is the one with controlled background. This means that a portrait photographer will drive all attention to the subject and not give as much emphasis to the background or any other elements in the frame. This controlled background type of portrait photography usually takes place when a subject is placed before a pre-planned background. Think 1 x 1 portrait or rush I.D. type of photography. The main focal point would be the subject. In the case of a simple 1 x 1 rush I.D. type of simple portrait photography, the subject’s face will be given emphasis and the background will be merely used as an “enhancer.” Take note, however, that backgrounds needs not be dull. They can actually be clever, colorful ones. If you want your subject to appear as if he or she is in a “summery” mood, use a backdrop that has a ton of flowers or has nice and cool pastel hues.
The second element of portrait photography is the one with controlled lighting. This time, it’s not important what subject you’re supposed to use or what background you intend to use. This time, what’s more important is the angle from where you want to take the photo of the subject from while remembering the type of lights and the placement of lights in a particular area. Ergo, it’s the lighting as well as the angle that are given more weight instead. In a controlled lighting environment, a portrait photographer wants to capture the best angle of the person’s face using lights, reflectors, diffusion equipment, light stands or umbrellas. While a lot of portrait photographers want to move around, a tripod may also be needed especially if slow shutter speed is required at a certain point. This type of element is generally used during shoots with models, members of royal families, government officials and other prominent members of society. Although of course some ordinary clients who may want to have great shots can also require controlled lighting environments for their portraiture.
So the next time you want to have family photos taken, consider hiring a professional portrait photographer. They can also take dating photos, photos for corporate purposes, profile photos and the like. Hiring a professional portrait photographer will definitely be a good investment.
(c) Headshot London – Portrait Photographers