If you’re new to portrait photography or it’s simply not your area, it may be overwhelming to start. I know it’s always been one of the most challenging genres for me. In this video, Derrel Ho-Shing gives you five quick tips that will help you to step up your portrait game. And you don’t need any new gear for this. You won’t invest any money in these improvements, or even your time – it only takes some of your creativity.
1. Change your perspective
Normally we look at people at eye level, from a standing perspective. The easiest way to spice up your portraits is to change this perspective. Give your viewers something unexpected: get low and shoot upwards, or get up and shoot downwards. As your model poses for you, you can ask them to keep the pose and then take a few different shots of it from various angles. Remember, though, that new perspective tells a new story. And it’s a good thing: it’s your tool to add to the message that you want to convey.
2. Composition and framing
Think about the other elements of the shot that you’re including in your composition. Derrel talks about using the rule of thirds here, but you can rely on other composition rules, or follow your intuition. Look for the things around you that could help you frame the subject or make a more interesting composition.
3. Leading lines
Leading lines draw your viewer’s eye to the main subject and it’s a great “trick” for making more visually pleasing images. Use the lines you see around you: the road, fences, telephone wires, buildings… A lot of the things in the environment can act as leading lines, so keep your eyes open searching for them.
4. Shadows and reflections
Utilize shadows and reflections creatively instead of running away from them. Many photographers don’t like harsh shadows when shooting portraits, but there are many creative ways to use them in your shots. The same goes for reflections: look for puddles, mirrors, or windows to add creative reflections to your portraits.
5. Golden hour
As Derrel puts it, shooting at golden hour is almost like a cheat code. It’s almost impossible to get a bad shot during this hour, and it plays well both with OCF and on its own. This time of day gives you beautiful, golden light that’s great for portraits. Its color is nice and tender, but I think it even works for black and white portraits, depending on what you want to achieve.
Make sure to watch Derrel’s video for some great examples and more illustrations of his tips. And the next time you go out shooting portraits, keep these tips in mind to get some awesome shots.
[5 Tips for BETTER PORTRAITS on a Budget | Derrel Ho-Shing]