While you can certainly opt to take portrait photos solely of people with movie star faces and body builders physiques, there is no bad choice when it comes to selecting subjects. Every person or group has a message to convey; it is your job as a photographer to help them communicate it. When you put many of these portrait photography tips into practice, the photo of an older, weathered homeless man may be much more powerful than a shot of a young, practiced model. As you seek out subjects to photograph, consider a story they might have to tell and endeavor to relay that tale with the right lighting, background and pose.
Deciding on the right pose is a principal consideration as well. Some subjects will strike a pose on their own, while others will look to you for guidance – and rightly so. You are the one who can see how the light falls on the person's face, the artist with a vision of the message you want to come across in the photo. When directing a subject on how to pose, factor in personal traits, the circumstances and the background. Consider the mood you wish to express and how a person's posture would naturally reflect it.
If you are taking full-length portrait photos rather than headshots, be sure to focus properly and consider lighting as well as your eye-level. Be sure to focus on the subject's entire body, rather than only his face. Include other important objects as well in your focus, such as a pet or the chair in which your subject is sitting.
Other helpful portrait photography tips include taking photos of yourself and practicing on your family and friends. Shoot an abundance of portrait photos and pore over them all, good or bad. Learn from both, picking up on what worked in the good pictures and what made the others not so good. Follow these portrait photography tips and with practice, time and effort, you will soon become an expert portrait photographer.
Photo credit: sxc.hu/Leroy Skalstad