10 More Tips for Stunning Portrait Photography - Digital Photography School

10 More Tips for Stunning Portrait Photography

Pin ItYesterday I shared 10 Ways to take Stunning Portrait Photography. We covered everything from altering your perspective as a photographer, to experimenting with lighting, to shooting candidly.

Today I want to continue on the same train of thought with 10 more tips for adding a little spice to your portraits.

11. Frame Your Subject

Framing is a technique where by you draw attention to one element of an image by framing it with another element of the image.

portrait-framing.jpgImage by darkmatter

Framing gives an image depth and draws the eye to a point of interest in the image.

You could do it by placing your subject in a window or doorway, have them look through a small gap or even use their hands around their face. See more examples of framing in photography here.

12. Go with a Wide Angle

Shooting with a wide angle lens attached to your camera can help create some memorable shots when you’re doing portrait photography.

At very wide focal lengths you can create some wonderful distortion. It might not be the type of shot you take of your wife or girlfriend (unless she’s in a playful mood) but using these focal lengths will enlarge parts of the face or body that are on the edge of the frame more than what is in the centre.

It can also give a wide open and dramatic impact when your subject is in an impressive setting.

portrait-wide-angle.jpgImage by paulbence

13. Play With Backgrounds

The person in your portrait is the main point of interest – however sometimes when you place them into different contexts with different backgrounds you can dramatically alter the mood in a shot.

Sometimes you want your background to be as minimalistic as possible.

portrait-background.jpgPortrait by akbar1947

While other times a dramatic or colorful background can help your subject really stand out.

portrait-backgrounds.jpgPhoto by paulbence

The key is to experiment.

14. Change the Format Framing

Many photographers get stuck in a rut of only ever shooting either in ‘landscape’ (when the camera is held horizontally) or ‘portrait’ (when the camera is held vertically) modes. Look back through your images and see which one you use predominantly.

Just because a vertical framing is called ‘portrait’ mode doesn’t mean you always need to use it when shooting portraits. Mix your framing up in each shoot that you do and you’ll add variety to the type of shots you take.

portrait-horizontal.jpgImage by bikeracer

15. Hold Your Camera on an Angle

Horizontal and Vertical framings are not the only options when it comes to shooting portraits. While getting your images straight can be important in when shooting in these formats holding your camera on a more diagonal angle can also inject a little fun into your images.

This type of framing can add a sense of fun and energy into your shots. Just don’t ‘slightly’ do it or you’ll have people asking themselves if you might have mistakenly held your camera crooked.

portrait-angle.jpgPhoto by puja

16. Take Unfocused Shots

As photographers we have ‘sharp focus’ drummed into us as an ultimate objective to achieve in our work – but sometimes lack of focus can create shots with real emotion, mood and interest.

There are two main strategies for taking unfocused images that work:

1. Focus upon one element of the image and leave your main subject blurred. To do this use a large aperture which will create a narrow depth of field and focus upon something in front of or behind your subject.

portrait-unfocused.jpgPhoto by Jeff Kubina

2. Leave the full image out of focus. To do this again choose a wide aperture but focus well in front or behind anything that is in your image (you’ll need to switch to manual focussing to achieve this).

These kinds of shots can be incredibly dreamy and mysterious.

portrait-out-of-focus.jpgPortrait by peskymac

17. Introduce Movement

Portraits can be so static – but what if you added some movement into them? This can be achieved in a few ways:

portrait-movement-1.jpgPhoto by Michael Sarver

  • by making your subject move
  • by keeping your subject still but having an element in the scene around them move
  • by moving your camera (or it’s lens to achieve a zoom burst)

portrait-movement.jpgPortrait by philippe leroyer

The key with the above three methods is to use a slow enough shutter speed to capture the movement.

The alternative is to have your subject obviously move fast but to use a shutter speed so fast that it ‘freezes’ their movement.

18. Experiment with Subject Expressions

In some portraits it is the expression on the face of your subject that makes the image.

Get your subject to experiment with different moods and emotions in your image. Play with extreme emotions

portrait-smile.jpgPortrait by carf

But also try more sombre or serious type shots

portrait-expression.jpgPhoto by Stuck in Customs

19. Fill the Frame

One way to ensure that your subject captures the attention of the viewer of your portrait is to fill the frame with their face.

It’s not something that you’d do in every shot that you take – but if your subject is the only feature in the shot – there’s really nowhere else to look.

portrait-fill-frame.jpg

Portrait by kkelly2007

20. Find an Interesting Subject

I have a friend who regularly goes out on the streets around Melbourne looking for interesting people to photograph.

When he finds someone that he finds interesting he approaches them, asks if they’d pose for him, he quickly finds a suitable background and then shoots off a handful of shots quickly (if they give him permission of course).

The result is that he has the most wonderful collection of photographs of people of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds.

While many of us spend most of our time photographing our loved ones – perhaps it’d be an interesting exercise to shoot interesting strangers once in a while?

portrait-interesting-subjects.jpgPortrait by .mushi_king

What Did I Miss?

So there you have it. 20 ways to add variety to your portraits (including yesterday’s 10 tips). But what have I missed that you’d add? I’m sure if we put our heads together we could come up with plenty of other techniques and ideas to add a little variety to our portrait photography. Looking forward to reading your suggestions in comments below.

Get more portrait photography tips here.

portrait-tips.jpg

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/aquamocchi/ Adit

    This gives me a new perspective of shooting portraits. Can’t wait to start experimenting!

  • shar

    Thanks for great set of tips! I’m a total newbie in DSLR photography. I have one questions: how was the third portrait from the last taken? The one with the little boy in a hat, with blurred farmhouse at the back. Please let me know! thanks!

  • jennyburger

    These are great tips. Useful advice for a photographer who’s run dry. All that’s needed now?…10 or 20 MORE! Thanks a lot!

  • Manish Sanga

    Gr8 tips with a stunning vision , they will certainly go a long way wid me, Thanx a ton

  • Mitchell

    I love your advice! Keep the party goin man!

  • http://www.sirius.bg lampi

    Good piece of advice! I will try some of the suggested techniques :)

  • someone

    nice tips only if I had a couple of DSLRs and a bunch of super lenses….

  • http://www.JHGphoto.com Swiss JHG Photo

    That’s nice addition to the first 10 tips… would be nice to have them into one page for printing it in a friendly way!

  • shuhan

    thanks for tha advise…im a new photographer and after reading these i khow many things…..thanks darren…wish u all the best and keep sending tips.

  • http://foodientravelbug.blogspot.com Mei Teng

    I am not so sure about the unfocused shots. Makes my feel somewhat dizzy looking at those images. But a technique worth experimenting with. Thanks for sharing these tips.

  • http://www.fototailor.com Photo Editing

    It’s really great post, nice blog..I would like to appreciate your work and would like to tell to my friends.

  • http://lexaraephotog.blogspot.com/ LexaRae

    I love these tips!
    It helped me put words to what i already do, and what I have always wanted to learn.
    Thank you so much! These tips are going to help me be so much more successful in my upcoming business!

  • http://chiamessina.com Headshot NYC

    Any modification of the color saturation and cropping makes for a better headshot immediately and distinguishes it from a snapshot.

  • Josh Warner

    Wow, I thought I was pretty good at taking portraits that make the subject pop out, but these are just amazing. I will definitely try to employ these tips in future photography. Thanks, I will order a copy of this E-Book the second I get the money. Thanks again.

  • Meeshell

    Mimi says Very nice, High Five. [:

  • ramandeep

    i really love all these pics. good job people. soon i be as good as u guys

  • http://www.picman.fi Mr. Pekka Kononen

    Thank you very much of the very comprehensive and pro like tips for great portraits.
    I suddenly found that taking portraits is an area that interests me a lot. I found it, when I happened to shoot this picture of my youngest grandchild. Happy summer![eimg url='http://www.picman.fi/Vieraat/jemppu.jpg' title='jemppu.jpg']

  • dennis iannuzzi

    I enjoyed your comments and images,I have been a photographer for 40 years and I am still finding much enjoyment in the media. I work mostly in the larger format but also use a digital camera.
    Dennis I

  • Sunita

    those were excellent tips! i can’t find anything as easy to understand and simple.
    also, i love that you have accompanying images to demonstrate what you’re talking about.
    i’m going to try them out right now!!!
    thank you! :)

  • http://www.goldstoneperu.com Designer Scarves

    Another great entry. I have been experimenting with High key and high contrast portrait which seems to produce good results. I sometimes find that asking the model/person you are shooting to “free-style” helps in getting me out of my comfort zone and find new ideas that way.

  • Rahel

    great tips. am attaching a recently taken shot by me for your review comments. [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/46464950@N04/5043780060/' title='More of Wife' url='http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4133/5043780060_358455ee95.jpg']

  • http://www.sebastiengenet.co.uk Sebastien Genet

    I often like to shoot from the top and ask the subject to look up. This is an example:

  • http://www.sebastiengenet.co.uk Sebastien Genet

    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/sebastiengenet/4433013720/' title='Look up!!!' url='http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4007/4433013720_d698e83cd2.jpg']

  • http://www.sebastiengenet.co.uk Sebastien Genet
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chandira/sets/72157625362328740/ Chandira

    Thank you thank you!! Great ideas. A friend has asked me to take his photo for a website, and this has given me some great ideas! :-)

    He’s an ‘out of the box’ character, and said I can play, so I will have some fun with this now..

  • http://www.ccphotopros.com John Cordova

    Wow! Very good list(s). I was amazed to see that the vast majority of things you mention in the list are things that we are already doing, instinctively. Good to know that our instincts are right on the money. I love your little tidbits and injections of personality. That’s what makes a great portrait to us.

    Keep up the good work! We will be reading.

  • Yasmine

    These are great tips!
    I love them

    Here is another interesting way of taking pictures.

    A picture in a picture or some other lens.

    They usually come out great.

  • http://www.whitepetal.co.uk White Petal Wedding Photography Devon

    Good post and good advice, of course there are some really good subjects in there too which helps. Like it +++

  • Jondaar

    Great amount of info & tips, very informative.
    Will experiment & see what comes out.

    Great stuff! Cheers

  • http://vstaudioz.blogspot.com/2011_12_01_archive.html audio

    Thanks for every other informative web site. The place else may I am getting that type of information written in such an ideal way? I have a project that I’m simply now working on, and I have been at the look out for such information.

  • http://www.Yucelphoto.com Yucel

    Another great list… got ideas on how to get people to vary their expressions?

    Sometimes the stiffest are … the stiffest…???

  • Pam

    Thanks for sharing. I would have never thought of taking portraits like this. I am just starting out. This is very helpful. Thank you

  • http://www.jackwestheadphotography.co.uk Jack Westhead

    Thanks for the tips :) Jack

  • MacKenzie

    Wow! Thank you for all the helpful tips! I am big into photography but live in a small town where the only thing to take pictures of is scenery and family so I am not experienced in taking portraits but after reading these tips I am more confident! Thanks a Ton!

  • http://www.thepbook.com kistadi

    Wow… , Seriously i m thankful to you . worthy sharing this kind of articles for starters like me

    My recent post on love story theme photography http://www.theapbook.com/forum/index.php?threads/love-story-photography-theme-by-sudha-mukesh-traveography.57/#post-67

  • http://www.wintleman.com/2013/04/ ming

    Hello, Neat post. There is a problem with your site in internet explorer, could check this? IE nonetheless is the marketplace chief and a huge part of people will pass over your great writing due to this problem.

  • earl jules

    It appears that none of these articles are dated . . .
    I’m not sure if I’m commenting on an article from two days ago OR two years ago . . .

    I take it back. . . I found some other comments dating back to 2008… LOL

    (sigh)

    I’m a bit of a fan of HDR . . . that might make a colorful image pop… no?
    It might have been interesting to use on the .mushy_king image above. . .

  • Barry E Warren

    Great Post, Thanks for all the tips to improve portraits . There are a lot of good ideas here…..

  • thathang3

    The date of these articles is irrelevant. These lessons are timeless

  • http://mophotography.co.uk/ Mindaugas Orlauskas

    Hello Darren, 1st of all I would like to wish you MERRY CHRISTMAS. Coming to your work – I just love these photographs. Being a professional Portrait Photographer (@ MO Photography in London) I really love the way you have described the whole thing. I agree that Portrait photography is such a thing where you can experiment your technicalities by changing the mood and the way of taking pictures. Don’t you think so? Loved the blog and shared in my Facebook page. Please visit http://mophotography.co.uk/ and give me your feedback regarding my works. Hope you will love my works! Thanks in Advance!

  • swapnil

    thanks for all tips & images, i am profetional photographer maharashtra in india, so i like creativ photography.

  • http://www.gajindustrialsupply.com/ Henry James

    Stunning Photographs! Each one of the pic here attracts and produces a realistic impression on mind, great works put together. http://www.wowapic.com/

Some older comments

  • ming

    August 5, 2013 08:56 pm

    Hello, Neat post. There is a problem with your site in internet explorer, could check this? IE nonetheless is the marketplace chief and a huge part of people will pass over your great writing due to this problem.

  • kistadi

    June 13, 2013 03:04 pm

    Wow... , Seriously i m thankful to you . worthy sharing this kind of articles for starters like me

    My recent post on love story theme photography http://www.theapbook.com/forum/index.php?threads/love-story-photography-theme-by-sudha-mukesh-traveography.57/#post-67

  • MacKenzie

    February 7, 2013 04:43 am

    Wow! Thank you for all the helpful tips! I am big into photography but live in a small town where the only thing to take pictures of is scenery and family so I am not experienced in taking portraits but after reading these tips I am more confident! Thanks a Ton!

  • Jack Westhead

    September 1, 2012 07:04 pm

    Thanks for the tips :) Jack

  • Pam

    March 21, 2012 02:15 am

    Thanks for sharing. I would have never thought of taking portraits like this. I am just starting out. This is very helpful. Thank you

  • Yucel

    March 13, 2012 06:21 am

    Another great list... got ideas on how to get people to vary their expressions?

    Sometimes the stiffest are ... the stiffest...???

  • audio

    January 25, 2012 02:19 am

    Thanks for every other informative web site. The place else may I am getting that type of information written in such an ideal way? I have a project that I'm simply now working on, and I have been at the look out for such information.

  • Jondaar

    December 30, 2011 04:19 pm

    Great amount of info & tips, very informative.
    Will experiment & see what comes out.

    Great stuff! Cheers

  • White Petal Wedding Photography Devon

    December 30, 2011 03:29 am

    Good post and good advice, of course there are some really good subjects in there too which helps. Like it +++

  • Yasmine

    December 21, 2011 12:49 pm

    These are great tips!
    I love them

    Here is another interesting way of taking pictures.

    A picture in a picture or some other lens.

    They usually come out great.

  • John Cordova

    May 20, 2011 05:53 pm

    Wow! Very good list(s). I was amazed to see that the vast majority of things you mention in the list are things that we are already doing, instinctively. Good to know that our instincts are right on the money. I love your little tidbits and injections of personality. That's what makes a great portrait to us.

    Keep up the good work! We will be reading.

  • Chandira

    November 17, 2010 04:39 am

    Thank you thank you!! Great ideas. A friend has asked me to take his photo for a website, and this has given me some great ideas! :-)

    He's an 'out of the box' character, and said I can play, so I will have some fun with this now..

  • Sebastien Genet

    November 12, 2010 08:55 am

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/sebastiengenet/4433013720/in/set-72157603872677604/lightbox/

  • Sebastien Genet

    November 12, 2010 08:53 am

    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/sebastiengenet/4433013720/' title='Look up!!!' url='http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4007/4433013720_d698e83cd2.jpg']

  • Sebastien Genet

    November 12, 2010 08:52 am

    I often like to shoot from the top and ask the subject to look up. This is an example:

  • Rahel

    October 4, 2010 07:55 pm

    great tips. am attaching a recently taken shot by me for your review comments. [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/46464950@N04/5043780060/' title='More of Wife' url='http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4133/5043780060_358455ee95.jpg']

  • Designer Scarves

    August 24, 2010 10:39 pm

    Another great entry. I have been experimenting with High key and high contrast portrait which seems to produce good results. I sometimes find that asking the model/person you are shooting to "free-style" helps in getting me out of my comfort zone and find new ideas that way.

  • Sunita

    July 17, 2010 08:23 am

    those were excellent tips! i can't find anything as easy to understand and simple.
    also, i love that you have accompanying images to demonstrate what you're talking about.
    i'm going to try them out right now!!!
    thank you! :)

  • dennis iannuzzi

    June 10, 2010 10:27 pm

    I enjoyed your comments and images,I have been a photographer for 40 years and I am still finding much enjoyment in the media. I work mostly in the larger format but also use a digital camera.
    Dennis I

  • Mr. Pekka Kononen

    June 10, 2010 05:26 pm

    Thank you very much of the very comprehensive and pro like tips for great portraits.
    I suddenly found that taking portraits is an area that interests me a lot. I found it, when I happened to shoot this picture of my youngest grandchild. Happy summer![eimg url='http://www.picman.fi/Vieraat/jemppu.jpg' title='jemppu.jpg']

  • ramandeep

    May 26, 2010 11:07 pm

    i really love all these pics. good job people. soon i be as good as u guys

  • Meeshell

    May 13, 2010 12:44 am

    Mimi says Very nice, High Five. [:

  • Josh Warner

    May 5, 2010 02:42 am

    Wow, I thought I was pretty good at taking portraits that make the subject pop out, but these are just amazing. I will definitely try to employ these tips in future photography. Thanks, I will order a copy of this E-Book the second I get the money. Thanks again.

  • Headshot NYC

    April 19, 2010 02:28 pm

    Any modification of the color saturation and cropping makes for a better headshot immediately and distinguishes it from a snapshot.

  • LexaRae

    April 15, 2010 04:21 am

    I love these tips!
    It helped me put words to what i already do, and what I have always wanted to learn.
    Thank you so much! These tips are going to help me be so much more successful in my upcoming business!

  • Photo Editing

    March 31, 2010 10:16 pm

    It’s really great post, nice blog..I would like to appreciate your work and would like to tell to my friends.

  • Mei Teng

    January 13, 2010 02:16 pm

    I am not so sure about the unfocused shots. Makes my feel somewhat dizzy looking at those images. But a technique worth experimenting with. Thanks for sharing these tips.

  • shuhan

    January 7, 2010 03:19 pm

    thanks for tha advise...im a new photographer and after reading these i khow many things.....thanks darren...wish u all the best and keep sending tips.

  • Swiss JHG Photo

    December 16, 2009 06:31 am

    That's nice addition to the first 10 tips... would be nice to have them into one page for printing it in a friendly way!

  • someone

    December 14, 2009 09:35 pm

    nice tips only if I had a couple of DSLRs and a bunch of super lenses....

  • lampi

    October 21, 2009 04:29 pm

    Good piece of advice! I will try some of the suggested techniques :)

  • Mitchell

    October 20, 2009 03:46 am

    I love your advice! Keep the party goin man!

  • Manish Sanga

    September 28, 2009 06:56 pm

    Gr8 tips with a stunning vision , they will certainly go a long way wid me, Thanx a ton

  • jennyburger

    September 27, 2009 04:27 pm

    These are great tips. Useful advice for a photographer who's run dry. All that's needed now?...10 or 20 MORE! Thanks a lot!

  • shar

    September 26, 2009 03:27 am

    Thanks for great set of tips! I'm a total newbie in DSLR photography. I have one questions: how was the third portrait from the last taken? The one with the little boy in a hat, with blurred farmhouse at the back. Please let me know! thanks!

  • Adit

    September 6, 2009 10:01 am

    This gives me a new perspective of shooting portraits. Can't wait to start experimenting!

  • Marilyn

    September 4, 2009 01:01 am

    Thank you!!! for opening my eyes! and teaching me how to break the rules! I love it!

  • Bob Gruetter

    August 27, 2009 07:40 pm

    I have been photographing for over 40 years, and after reading these 20 tips, I relived some of my past and thought about things I used to do. Thank you for these as I had grown a little locked in on how, rather than enjoy what.

    Bob

  • stanley

    August 26, 2009 07:02 pm

    WoW!! great tips!!! I must try the lesson now!! I have learned so much since i became a member of DPS. Thanks a lot.

  • Milimo Hanyoolo

    August 21, 2009 06:59 am

    Again amazing tips i'm definate to try in my next shots...!!!Thanx

  • Chiranjib Majumdar

    August 16, 2009 03:29 pm

    Thank you so much Darren!!! I am an amateur photographer but am trying to do it seriously.... :) Your tips are so encouraging.....

  • Bonii Jo

    August 3, 2009 09:46 am

    Enjoyed this very much. Am applying it now. Thanks!

  • Ajith

    August 1, 2009 06:08 pm

    great tips! as a novice to DSLRs, i am still lerning and experimenting. these tips would definitely come handy at some point or another. many thanks for sharing them.

  • Bronx Boy

    July 22, 2009 07:54 pm

    Some stimulating ideas. Makes me want to getstarted. Where are those grandchildren...my free models. The framing example was especially challenging. Thanks

  • The Nonsense Society

    July 13, 2009 05:22 am

    Phenomenal Tips! Thank you!

  • Brenda Turton

    July 7, 2009 11:23 am

    Hi Darren
    I'm extremely pleased and very grateful to receive your helpful tips on portraits which will help me, no end.
    Best Regards, Brenda Turton

  • MARIO NARANJO MOLINA

    July 1, 2009 03:23 am

    Hi Darren,
    I´m fairly new as a member of DPS. I find it quite interesting but I´ll have to go along finding out in the different tutorials. I´m a painter myself and very fond, in general, of the world of images so if you want to give me your opinion on my works I´ll be so pleased. Hugs, I´ll be in touch.

  • Pssequimages

    July 1, 2009 02:20 am

    Thank you SO MUCH. This was just a wonderful set of tips, and a great article.

  • Paul Langereis

    June 20, 2009 09:52 am

    Hi Darren,

    I have learned so much since i became a member of DPS, and these tips on portrait photography have inspired me to try new things. Fantastic tips!

  • Curtis Copeland

    June 17, 2009 03:16 am

    Fabulous tips on portrait photography. Thanks for the tutorial!

  • SueLucas

    June 13, 2009 03:34 pm

    Great tips indeed! Each day, I look forward to seeing what's new in DPS - This is by far the best photo site on the net. Darren, you've got me hooked!

  • Norah T

    June 4, 2009 12:09 am

    Signing up for this is the best move I have made in decades!!! I love to take pictures because I am a scrapbooker....my family history is recorded in my albums and future generations will look back at the photos. I want them to tell the story of my familys life: past,present and future! With your help and generous teaching, I think it is possible!! Thanks for the amazing info and examples!!!

  • jamie wiggins

    June 1, 2009 06:55 am

    these tips are really great. im starting to really get into photography, so learning new techniques makes me even more excited to go shoot.

    one tip you could add that can really draw the viewer's eye is to use "leading lines"

  • Kim

    June 1, 2009 12:39 am

    I loved these tips for portrait photography---some I've tried to do, but your explanation gives me better direction. Can't wait to try some of them!

  • Hems Zwier

    May 22, 2009 09:05 pm

    Great article Darren! Loved it and did a RT on twitter!

  • Jenna

    May 18, 2009 07:13 pm

    I found this really helpfull.
    I'm doing a photography assignment now on non-traditional portraiture.
    We have to take photographs of people but we cant show their face but they still have to say something about the person.
    Any ideas to help me?

  • Hardeep Singh

    May 8, 2009 07:29 pm

    Its the first time I have seen your blog, and I have found it interesting. This is definitely a good set of tips to keep in one's mind while doing a portrait.

  • Blasco Fernandes

    May 4, 2009 05:15 pm

    I am an amateur photographer in Goa, India, and love taking pictures, so I am sure your tips on taking portraits will definitely be useful. Thanks.

  • Aaron

    April 29, 2009 07:41 am

    Great tips, I like the one where the guy is standing still while everything else is moving

  • athul

    April 25, 2009 04:52 pm

    hey darren,
    very nice article.. informative 4 a beginner like me... thanks....

  • vonda

    April 21, 2009 11:46 pm

    Never before have I thought of these great tips, Very appreciated, and I will be giving them a "shot".

  • vonda

    April 21, 2009 11:45 pm

    Never before have I thought these great tips, Very appreciated, and I will be giving them a "shot".

  • Libby4Z-Tune

    April 10, 2009 12:41 pm

    Thanks for the emphasis on creating creative photos, D! These days, it's rather difficult to find photographers who are like-minded. Who thinks it is in creating the shots that makes the photos, not necessarily the post-production. Or are we the "endangered species"?

  • Matt

    April 8, 2009 07:31 pm

    Fantastic tips. I've looked quite a lot for advice on portraits because it's an area which I sometimes find difficult and this is probably the best page i've seen on the subject. The examples are fantastic and inspiring. I can't wait to get out there and experiment.

  • Gareng

    April 8, 2009 12:17 pm

    Nice sharing ... thanks. I'll try this tips ....

  • Paul Fako

    April 7, 2009 07:14 am

    I hope that Pete ended up with that Tokina 12-24 wide angle. You will find that this range puts you where you want to be with nearly a super close-up combined with the linger 24mm for judging your shots better. Use all the range of this lens for some great stuff. I am must a raw amateur and this lens put in the serious mode rahter than just playing around with my Canon Rebel, Mag body original of course. The glass in this lens is amazing for the price, which is about 1/2 of what a Canon of the same range would have cost me.

    PRF

  • peter k

    April 7, 2009 03:44 am

    Know what ? I've seen here a couple of portraites with which not even Nadav Kander wouldn't be ashemed ! Excelent!
    I, personaly, use for portrait the Minolta 50mm f1.7 on my Sony A350, and I like it a lot !

  • vvn

    April 6, 2009 01:49 am

    Darren... Inspiration is the greatest teacher and you have certainly inspired me. I'm a graphic designer moving back to photography, looking for manual control but also portability as I always want to have the camera with me. Need to get away from the tiny point and shoot tho ; ). If only I could decide on the right camera purchase that will allow for creativity with depth of field etc, while also fitting budget and purse. Any recommendations there will be appreciated.

    These 2 portrait tips are the first newsletters after subscribing and I love them. Will be a regular from here out. Thank you.

  • Thalys

    April 3, 2009 02:52 pm

    Thanx Darren for sharing your knowledge. If ever I had been hesitating to buy a SLR then I'm no more. I had a point and shot till now and it's so frustrating. I love shooting portraits of my kids and family and even strangers. Now I think I have many ways to vary and have pleasure ! Again, thank you !!

  • Tilak Jaiswal

    April 3, 2009 06:04 am

    Great tips for the beginners

  • Nicole Alfonzo

    April 3, 2009 03:55 am

    thanks for the tips, honestly i learn so much from your site :]]

  • Annon

    April 2, 2009 10:22 pm

    Short and simple, but powerful tips, thanks

  • Janie K

    April 2, 2009 09:55 am

    Thank you, so well written and the examples are spot on. It's great to be reminded of some of these things and refreshed with some new ideas!

  • Vimal Kumar

    March 17, 2009 11:49 pm

    I got to learn so much to learn about portrait photography after reading these two articles. I am really thankful to you for the information passed on. I am gearing up to try these options..

    Thanks
    Vimal Kumar

  • lisamona

    March 17, 2009 04:19 pm

    i really enjoy reading and viewing the photos. i have learned so much just by reading your tips thankyou so much. im hoping maybe one day i will be able to take photos as good as some of the photos i am able to view. thanks to you.

    thanks lisamona

  • Ruel

    March 12, 2009 04:30 pm

    Seeing these 20 tips - Now, i feel like i'm in trouble.... i need to get rid of my compact camera and go DSLR, but my wife will kill me if she see's me with a new camera and not the one she gave. Hahaha....

  • gopherpoo

    March 10, 2009 03:26 pm

    I find that at functions, standing back from the crowd and taking pictures of evone interacting with each other works really well. U capture a lot of natural emotions without needing to ask anyone to pose....

    All in all, superb set of tips. Can't wait to try!!! :-)

  • Chris

    March 4, 2009 12:36 am

    Thanks so much for sharing these techniques..... great fodder for future shoots.

  • Alejandro

    February 21, 2009 01:55 am

    Gorgeous concepts!!...Thanks you very much!

  • MODZ

    February 17, 2009 11:35 am

    thanks alot. i really learned some techniques! :D

  • Jasmine

    February 13, 2009 04:19 am

    I think holding your camera at some sort of angle is a great way to capture peoples attention and to make it look a little more interesting in some way and form. Also with the lighting it makes it pop out.

  • Bind Rathore

    February 6, 2009 02:52 pm

    Great Tips, very much useful. Thanks a Lot for sharing such valuable inputs.

  • christos

    January 31, 2009 12:10 pm

    inspiring tips and stunning effects..thank you from an aspiring photographer..

  • Rizwan

    January 30, 2009 02:28 am

    thanks a lot ! this is exactly what i was looking for.can't wait to try these

  • Ali

    January 28, 2009 11:29 pm

    Perfect tips
    Thanks

  • JOHNNY

    January 23, 2009 01:27 am

    Wow!

  • rod fermin

    January 22, 2009 07:43 pm

    terrific! you've just loaded my imagination with very useful cues that i feel like applying them soonest!

    thanks a lot & MORE tips, huh!

  • Lenard

    January 17, 2009 10:34 pm

    Thank you and thank you again. Really learn a lot from you... Please keep them coming as it is very useful. Can't wait to try it out....

  • Mohamed Ghuloom

    January 1, 2009 11:56 pm

    Very good tips, actually better than the first part.. I always try to go creative with my portraits.. Not creative by reading these tips (coz many others will follow them as well) but the rule is whenever some unique idea comes up, just apply it.. You gave me inspiration for many other ideas that I can apply to LENS Photography clients in Bahrain.

  • James

    December 13, 2008 07:18 am

    This is a great help for portrait photographers. I really like this site.

  • Mik

    December 2, 2008 08:07 am

    Some of those shots are spectacular.

  • Millard

    December 2, 2008 07:14 am

    I am in absolute awe of some of these shots!! I am going to need to practice and study much more!!

  • s-telios a.k.a.==> s-perfect

    November 18, 2008 09:49 pm

    very interesting especially the moving people!!!!!!!!
    very usefull tips!! :D:D:D:D

  • Yogeesh

    October 26, 2008 04:50 am

    Thanks a lot. I never thought that portrait photography could be so interesting! I'll try these out..

  • Chris Morin

    October 10, 2008 12:38 am

    WOW.. What great shots, makes me wish my kids were little again so I could take more pictures of them... guess I'll thinghave to wait for grand kids!...

    My niece did something that I'd never thought of since I live in Colorado... (She was from Texas and had never seen snow) She was staying with us with her kids and we had one of those unexpected snow falls mid October. It was the kind with huge fluffy flakes and she woke her kids up in their PJ's put giant winter coats on over the pj's and took them outside where she proceeded to take loads of pictures of them playing in the snow. This was a non-digital camera so after running to the 1 hour developing to get them back... the shots were AWESOME with the big fluffy flakes all around the kids some in focus some out of focus it added all this movement and excitement to the usual "lets take pictures of the kids playing" shots. I'd never thought of it since I'd always waited until AFTER the snow to take pictures.

    So I guess that's a tip... take photo's WHILE it's snowing....

  • tania

    October 4, 2008 02:54 am

    thanks a lot for the many examples and simple writing. now let s go and try it out!

  • Maeve

    August 26, 2008 04:03 am

    Oh,such wonderful explanation!And great ideas!
    I love doing portraits but I usually just experiment with the angle of my camera!
    These tips can be used in nature photography as well,so thanks very much for such a amazing article :) !!!!!

  • Ali

    August 6, 2008 07:26 am

    Great tips! I'm a fan of portrait photography and am always excited to learn how to improve the craft.

    One tip I'd like to share is the usage of black and white. We've all taken a shot which we had high hopes for but the moment we've uploaded it onto our computers and viewed them in full size, we were sorely let down. It's amazing how using a photo editing software to convert the photo into b/w can often save the photo and perhaps even make it a great photo! Grainy shots--when turned to b/w--can look ultra dramatic and the same goes for blurry and unfocused shots.

    I've gone through some old pics of mine that I didn't particularly like but ended up being quite satisfied with them after turning them to black and white.

    Of course, if you want to be REALLY old-school, you can always pick up a 35mm camera, slot in a b/w film and away you go. :)

  • Sonny Parlin

    July 31, 2008 11:41 pm

    Dude,

    It's easy... most camera's have auto exposure bracketing and continuous shooting, so you can just hold down the shutter button and get three quick exposures.

    http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=all&q=handheld+hdr&m=text

    Also, you can use software like Photomatix to tonemap single RAW files, so you can get HDR like results from one image.

    -Sonny

  • dude

    July 31, 2008 12:50 am

    I don't know how you would make various exposures of the same person without them moving, so HDR I don't think so. Lots of channels/saturation/contrast/curves tweaking though !

  • phazeless

    July 30, 2008 01:16 am

    Good tips, but what you didn't tell them was most of these portraits were taken with extremely good optics and very well processed, a couple I suspected even were HDRs. Regardless, thanks for the tips.

  • James

    July 24, 2008 11:38 am

    It appears tip #21 is to have good photo editing software

  • The Baldchemist

    July 18, 2008 04:21 pm

    Thank you so very much for a truly great article. While some of the tips are well known you have made a very pertinent reminder of what we need to think about.
    Very readable and interesting. Well done. Thanks again. The Baldchemist

  • PS Website Design

    July 17, 2008 06:22 am

    Brilliant. Thanks for pulling them into a really useful list. Very inspirational.

  • Ally

    July 16, 2008 06:54 am

    I've always wanted to ask interesting people to take their photos, but I'm always too nervous. I don't know what to say. Any suggestions?

  • Anastasia

    July 16, 2008 01:23 am

    Thank you for the tips! I will be applying them in my next shoot. I cannot wait to see the results!

  • Dave

    July 15, 2008 03:20 pm

    Great set of tips!

    In our business, we get customers who want the setting, or the background changed in their photos or they just give us their pictures and ask us to make it look much better. And they aren't clear about what the want - except say be creative, surprise me! This set definitely gives us some creative direction when we get requests like that.

    Thanks!

    Dave
    www.wowApic.com

  • James

    July 15, 2008 02:29 pm

    Thanks very much!

  • Mik

    July 15, 2008 12:48 pm

    Great article and I need to get out and use my camera more, seeing as I pestered the wife to let me get a new Canon!

  • Jon

    July 14, 2008 08:54 am

    Great tip. I can't wait to try the tilt the camera suggestion.

  • Enrique Villa

    July 12, 2008 07:10 pm

    Use the rules as a guideline, and break every single one of them. I believe that is one very effective way to learn about possibilities and how to get to interesting results. No matter what, always try something new.

  • Christian

    July 12, 2008 04:21 pm

    Wow, I really enjoyed both of the posts - awesome work, thanks. I am really motivated now, I am gonna go and shoot my wife (no matter how much she tries to resist).

  • kathaclysm

    July 12, 2008 09:40 am

    I know this is about portraits, but I think I'd add to this: have the subject interact with the environment. People are most often taking pictures at events and/or points of interest, so many pictures are of people just standing in front of points/objects of interest, but it's always nice if you catch your subjects interacting with the environment. Wear the Eiffel tower as a hat, stick your head next to Mt. Rushmore, spread your arms before the NY city skyline, cut the birthday cake, kiss in front of the church, act like you're catching a ball at the stadium; point at, get in, or play with the environment whenever possible.

  • Janet Giacoma

    July 12, 2008 05:15 am

    Excellent! Such a departure from your traditional "stand still while I take your picture!" :)

  • Cinnamon

    July 12, 2008 04:37 am

    I really LOVE these tips...and will apply them to my photography! As a newbie...there's so much to take in...thank you ALL for your tips, too!

    Happy shooting, all! :)

  • Cinnamon

    July 12, 2008 04:37 am

    I really LOVE these tips...and will apply them to my photography! As a newbie...there's so much to take in...thank you ALL for your tips, too!

    Happy shooting all! :)

  • Chandoo

    July 12, 2008 04:21 am

    Thanks for sharing these tips, I liked both the sets very much, will try some of these things when shooting next

  • Just Kelly

    July 11, 2008 11:17 pm

    Hey, another great bunch of tips. And I like the examples here even better :)

    If I could add just one thing, though, these tips are great if you're comfortable enough with the basic rules of photography that you understand not only what works, but *why* it works and *when* it doesn't. Make sure you can reliably get the right exposure, understand the rule of thirds, etc, before you start moving off the beaten track like in some of these examples. It's like my old supervisor in the 'service used to say: "First you get to where you know the rules. Then you get to where you understand the rules. THEN you get to where you break the rules." :)

    But once you've got a solid foundation under your feet (so to speak), these are some excellent techniques to take your work in different directions. Some of course (11, 18 and 20 in particular) are always great ideas.

    Anyway, enjoyed this series very much. Can't wait to see all the great portraits that are gonna come out of it!

  • dimaks

    July 11, 2008 11:02 pm

    hmn, shoot the non-traditional way. anyway, these are great line up of tips. thanks for sharing.

  • Olivia Bell

    July 11, 2008 10:00 pm

    I've recently been exploring photography with the help of my sisters (they're my models ;)).

    These tips are great, especially the story of your friend who asks strangers to pose for him/her.

    Thank you :)

  • AminoSC

    July 11, 2008 07:58 pm

    Nice set of guidelines everyone should follow.

  • c3l5o

    July 11, 2008 01:37 pm

    Simple advices are simple to remember! This makes me love the concept of these two posts.

    I have to say that this is very inspiring indeed, I'm eager to go and do some experiences tomorrow! And I think I'm going to do a post on my blog about these two articles.

    Best Regards and thanks for the tips!

  • rahmad

    July 11, 2008 12:27 pm

    Thanks, I'll try with wide angles

  • Scott Bourne

    July 11, 2008 10:39 am

    Wow this was well thought-out and written. Thanks.

    The only tip I could add I learned while shooting fashion in New York City in the old days. . .try using a super-telephoto lens. Back in the day, long lenses were all the rage for fashion work since they tend to help flatter the models and minimize backgrounds.

    I use 300, 400 and even 500mm lenses for portraits.

  • Megapixelicious

    July 11, 2008 08:43 am

    This is again another great post and I even think that it tops the first post. Again, I really like the simplicity of the advices and how well they are put into context thanks to great examples!

  • Julia

    July 11, 2008 07:16 am

    as someone who is just starting out, thank you so much for the tips. super helpful.

  • Mandy

    July 11, 2008 04:04 am

    Wow I thought yesterday's were good, these really make me think outside of the box...

    I might have to start doing some more portrait work!

  • Anurag

    July 11, 2008 03:26 am

    Great tips.

  • Jason

    July 11, 2008 02:59 am

    Great tips indeed, nice to see I'm on the right track with some of them!

  • AC

    July 11, 2008 01:50 am

    Great tips. Now only if I did something with them....

  • Seim Effects

    July 11, 2008 01:34 am

    Good tips. It's always good to think on your feet and and be ready to take on a new challenge even if it's outside the comfort zone.

    Gavin Seim

  • Pete Langlois

    July 11, 2008 01:13 am

    Another great set of tips.

    I am thinking of picking up a 12-24 Tokina to experiment with wide angles.

    Pete
    http://www.petelanglois.net

  • Scott Fillmer

    July 11, 2008 01:10 am

    Wow, great list... I love the last shot, so crisp and sharp. I like movement but it has to be done carefully (which I usually am not). I like it when there is at least a point of sharp focus if there is movement in the rest of the image. Great shots.

  • Sonny Parlin

    July 11, 2008 01:04 am

    Thank you for sharing, these are great tips, can't wait to start experimenting!

  • Rosh

    July 11, 2008 12:54 am

    This is an even more interesting group compared to the first ten. I believe when thinking of new ideas throw out at least the first five because you've seen them before. The creativity really starts after that.

    The motion and focus images are fun.

    Rosh
    http://www.newmediaphotographer.com

  • john piercy

    July 11, 2008 12:42 am

    Excellent Article Darren
    I dont shoot much in the way of portraits , this will give me some more inspiration to get out there look people in the face .

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