Here is a litany of who, what, when, where, how, why I take portraits.
Who do I take portraits of?
Portraits of children. Children are such interesting subjects. It is as though anything they do is cute and adorable. Although they may not be good in posing, their expressions are so genuine, that even an awkward pose registers well in photographs; all the more if you capture emotions at their height.
Portraits of popular people. Popularity is relative, and we are not always in the company of celebrities. However, every time we encounter people who are somehow known, and in their own right can be called famous, don’t let the opportunity of photographing them pass!
Portraits of fellow lomographers. I always envy others who have beautiful portraits. I think anyone who appreciates photography would be pleased if someone took a frame-worthy portrait of them. So every time I am with fellow lomographers, I take portraits of them, hoping that they will take a portrait of me in return.
What do I take portraits of?
Other body parts. Portraits need not always be photographs of someone’s face. Sometimes other body parts such as hands and feet can create an equally powerful impact.
Expressions. Sometimes portraits are not necessarily about the face; but more of the facial expressions. So take photos of people caught in the middle of their emotions, or take photos of friends who are good in projecting emotional expressions.
Relationships. Being social creatures that we are, relationships are very much important for us. Photographing two people celebrating such is always a thing of beauty.
When do I take portraits?
In context. A vendor with her merchandize, a kid in a playground, a musician on stage; portraits of people often times become more appealing when they are taken with the appropriate context.
Unguarded moments. People are most honest when they are unguarded and unrestricted by others’ expectation; so try to sneak up on your friends to take unguarded and candid portraits of them.
Where do I take portraits?
Light. Light source can make or break a good portrait. Too little light will render the portrait dark, with little detail, while too much light can make the subject’s eye squint and basically wash up the photo. With beautiful ambient light that is just right, half the battle is almost won.
How do I take portraits?
Lens. A good lens that can take photos with clear details is generally preferred in taking portraits. A clear subject against background that is blurry can definitely add a punch in your photos.
Doubles. Don’t be afraid to take your chances and layer your portraits with other images. Texture, perhaps, or clouds go well with faces.
Framing. Portraits inside a frame are also nice to look at; it brings the eyes to a natural focal point, which is the subject.
Props. Using props are also a fun way of adding more character and story in the portraits that you take.
Why do I take portraits?
I really can’t put into words the reason why. It just seems so natural for me, and possibly for anyone, to do so. So there, I do hope that you find some inspiration from the suggestions I have made. Now go out and snap at those faces!