7 Tips to get creative with your portraits

Armed with the 5 basic tips of taking good photos in my previous post, you can now move on to taking more creative shots. Let’s start with getting creative with your portraits. Again, you don’t need an expensive kit. All you need now is a good eye and some creative ideas.

Child smiling

1) Don’t be afraid to break the rules

It’s been said that rules are meant to be broken! Slant your shots and get unnerving and intriguing angles going in your photos. Take portraits where your subjects are not looking directly at the camera. Don’t be afraid to get real close and focus on a feature or two.

2) Experiment

Experimenting with the aperture to provide a shallow depth of field and focus on some features can be very effective. Play with with the shutter speed to freeze motion or capture a blurry effect. Using the subject’s hair to capture or freeze motion can be a way to add movement and energy to your shot.

3) Direct your subjects

Try a variety or moods and poses including humour to your shots and don’t be afraid to direct your subjects. Often subjects don’t know what to do in front of the camera so you need to be quite specific sometimes as to where you want them to be and what you want them to do.

4) Include foreground and background to some of your shots.

This can add depth in the photo for an interesting and dramatic effect. Getting a blurred foreground and background can emphasize focus on your subject and make a powerful shot.

5) Use props

Sometimes, props are a great idea to help your subjects relax and provide interest in your shots. Make sure your props complement the subject though and bring out the subject’s personality. You could ask your subject to bring a prop they are happy to be photographed with.

Child with light on face

6) Be aware of available light and use it

Sometimes light from a window is enough for a powerful shot. Some photographers never use a studio but prefer to take photographs using available light only in bedrooms, bathrooms, and other personal, intimate spaces to get unique and artistic shots. It’s fun to make do with what’s available as this challenges you to be more creative and get the best out of what you have.

7) Try different lenses

Use a zoom lens to capture candid moments without coming too close to the subject. Zoom lenses are often best for capturing candid moments as they are unobstrusive. Sometimes, the most revealing shots are captured when the subject is unaware of the camera. Zoom lenses can also give a shallow depth of field to focus effectively on the subject and blur the background. Use a wide angle lens to capture a more panoramic view; it also gives a wider angle of view than the human eye and can make things look larger than life.

Unlike the other hints you might have to purchase an extra lens to achieve this, but you don’t need to buy everything at once. Start with a zoom lens, for example 55-200mm, and if you think you want to try other shots and can afford to invest in more equipment, buy more!


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