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Portraiture Made Easy

If you get frustrated when taking photographs of people, then help is at hand -- human beings are one of the most photographed subjects in the history of photography!

Photo by slumbrnghok

There is a literal TON of writing and study about the best ways to shoot people. Luckily, portraiture is a doddle and if you find it a challenge then you’ll also find a little bit of study very rewarding. You might find that your photographs improve too!

For me, a good portrait should say something about the person. If I can get a sense of their personality across then I feel my picture has been a success. The primary way to bring out someone’s personalitly quickly and naturaly is easy: talk to them! Ask your subject what they do; where are they going; are they interested in photography? Make a point of finding out about them as you ready your camera to take the shot. You may find out information that assists you in composing your photo.

When taking a portrait, the background should not distract from the subject, but rather accentuate them. I find some holiday photographs limiting because the shooter has included a background that’s far more interesting than the human subject. I tend to keep the background slightly de-focused. In other cases, the background can add a context to your subject — in this regard it will deserve to stand out more thoroughly.

If you take a picture of someone enjoying themselves or a picture of someone you love you’re likely to have a better photograph as a result. Some friends and family are also more forgiving if you’re getting to grips with a new camera than others. Take pictures of people who are patient and will let you have time to learn.

Learn how to work your camera. I want to do two kinds of portrait in the near-future. I want to shoot into the sun and use an on-board flash for fill and I want to shoot slow-synch night portraits. To do this I’m going to have to read my camera manual and do some practice first. Ultimately, I think my photography will benefit.

To recap: Talk to the subject, find out about them, and put them at ease. Choose a suitable background. Choose an appropriate subject. Learn how to operate your camera correctly.

Here are some of my favourite pictures of people:

written by slumbrnghok


  1. kaimcn

    Great tips! I've found that my best pictures are of people I like. The camera definitely picks up my mood :)

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  2. slumbrnghok


    @kaimcn Thanks! Glad you agree!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Deutsch & Français.