While we talk to people while we photograph them, we often don’t notice some imperfections that only become obvious in post. Most of us have “the better side” of our face or the angle that flatters us the most. And as a portrait photographer, it’s your job to find the perfect angle for every subject you shoot. Photographer Ernesto Sue shares five tips that will help you achieve it, and demonstrates it through his own photoshoot.
First of all, it’s worth noting that there’s no universal “perfect angle” – what flatters one subject could be a bad choice for the other. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t find the ideal angle for each of your models. Here’s how Ernesto makes sure to cover enough angles so he can always choose the best ones.
1. Straight on shot
First of all, Ernesto likes to take straight on shots of every person he photographs. It works on most subjects, but sometimes it doesn’t. For example, if your subject has a crooked nose, this may not be the best choice. And it’s one of those things you probably won’t notice it while talking to them and taking photos, but you’ll notice it in post.
2. Side (profile)
So, if your subject does have that crooked nose, taking side or profile shots could work well. On the other hand, if the subject has a very pronounced nose, you’ll notice it in a profile shot. In this case, having the aforementioned straight on shots gives you another angle you can use.
The third angle Ernesto likes to cover is the “hero” shot, or shot from down below. It makes people appear a bit taller than they really are. But let me add something here as a person with thin torso and chubby thighs – if you get too low, this angle is unflattering for the people who have this body type.
The above shot can make the subject appear slimmer and put more of an accent on the face. So, if the shot from down below doesn’t work for the subject’s build, try this angle.
5. Change focal length
This isn’t really an angle, but it’s another tip Ernesto shares that will help you get a wide selection of photos. If you use a zoom lens, cover different focal lengths (or change prime lenses if you use them). This, combined with different angles, will give you a wide variety of shots to choose from and find those that work best once you start culling and editing.