Stuck in a rut with your portrait compositions? Here’s how to break out of it

May 24, 2022

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

Stuck in a rut with your portrait compositions? Here’s how to break out of it

May 24, 2022

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

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Sometimes if I’ve been doing a lot of shoots of the same type of thing in quick succession, I can find myself in the unfortunate position of falling back on the exact same ideas, compositions and even poses. This becomes particularly apparent if I’m working with the same subject.

Obviously, we want our photographs to all zing with individuality and something I always try to do is to create something unique for not just my clients, but for myself as well. But how do you break out of that photography composition rut when you find yourself slipping into it? In this video, portrait photographer Julia Trotti has a few great ideas to fall back on, to help you get your ideas fresh and flowing again during your next shoot.

Julia says that when she’s out shooting in urban locations she primarily looks out for lines and colours that she can work around. Use your location as your inspiration. If you’re able to always vary your locations then you’re sure to be able to come up with fresh inspiration when the time comes.

You can also look for areas with high contrast so that your subject stands out really well against the background. In the video, Julia has her model stand in front of a garage door but makes sure that she stands a few feet away from it. This serves to isolate the subject nicely from the background, as opposed to if the model was leaning right up against the door.

Julia has some other great tips as well, like looking out for lines in the background and being careful to use them to frame your subject rather than having them cutting across or down through your subject, as we all know that never looks as good!

The final tip is to have your subject interact with the environment in ways that are more than just leaning or sitting on something. I always like to add a story element to any shoot I’m doing outdoors, I find it just makes things a lot more interesting and adds more variety (that’s code for your clients will be more likely to buy more!).

In the end, you can’t beat good direction and preparation. If you always make sure to plan your shoots well ahead of time and visualise how you want your images to look then you’ll have a much greater chance of creating a diverse set of images. Then once you have your planned shots safely in the bag you can start to have fun, experiment and leave things down to serendipity.

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Alex Baker

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

Join the Discussion

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