How To Get An Excellent Portrait Photograph? Essential Tips

Are your lifestyle shots falling short? Learn how to get an excellent portrait photograph to deliver brand messaging in this post.

Excellent Portrait Photograph


Photo by Judeus Samson on Unsplash

Portrait photography is a technique that focuses on the representation of the human figure using different points of view and styles to communicate. For online businesses, understanding how to take a great portrait photograph is critical in helping display authenticity in brand messaging.


A portrait is one of the most beautiful and interesting themes within photography since it is about capturing photos through the camera, lens, and poses. When it comes to portraits, most people just want a good-looking image. The lighting, expression, and setting all play a part in your portrait. 

To take portrait photography it is important to have good photographic equipment and master the technique, but it is finally our sensitivity that will allow us to get closer and establish that trust between us and the character so that he reveals his true essence to us.


In this article, I’ve put together some essential tips for getting a good portrait photo. Hopefully, these will be very useful for your next photography project.


Essential Portrait Photography Tips for Getting a Good Portrait Photo

Getting a good portrait photo isn’t just about making sure your subject is in the right light, but also about the details. This article will give you essential portrait photography tips that can help you get a more professional-looking portrait photo. To put it simply, these are the things to remember when taking pictures.


Here are some portrait photography tips that can help you get the perfect picture:

Focus On The Details


When taking a portrait photograph it is very important that you explore various possibilities, the human body offers different elements with which you can play.


Do not focus only on the character’s face, observe the rest of his body and try to capture his personality through the most visible gestures or expressions that characterize him.


For example, the way the subject moves their hands, their facial expression, their gaze, and even a close-up of their lips can communicate a lot.


Select The Target


Fixed focal lengths or zoom lenses are generally used in portrait photography, this is because fixed focal lengths allow a wider diaphragm aperture of good quality and zoom lenses provide a wide focal length that makes it easier to blur the background.


What is the most appropriate objective? That will depend on how you intend to frame the character. For example, if your purpose is to capture only a closed plane of the eyes, for this the ideal is to use a telephoto lens, however, if what interests you is to make a portrait in a wider plane, then it is better to use a lens between 35mm to 50mm.

Take Unexpected Photos


Take advantage of the moments when the subject or model is distracted in the middle of the photo session to capture gestures, looks, smiles, silences, or any other natural expression that reveals part of their personality.


The best portrait photographs are obtained when the character is not posing because being off guard is when he shows his true essence the most.


This type of image can be achieved as the photo session progresses since the subject enters into an environment of trust with the photographer, which influences the latter to feel more comfortable and relaxed.

Adjust The Diaphragm


According to the objective you have chosen for your photographic project and the intention of what you want to communicate, you should consider that the larger the aperture, the smaller the depth of field.


The layout of this variable will depend on what you want to communicate through your images, for example, if what you want is to highlight the character and differentiate it very well from the background.


However, if you are looking to get a good shot with a wider shot, in which both the subject and the surrounding context are appreciated, then you should adjust the diaphragm a few steps closer to achieve greater depth of field.

Use The Environment

Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash


In portrait photography, it is also possible to play with the landscape that surrounds the character, for this a good handling of the depth of field is essential.


A wide or medium aperture allows you to include important elements of the environment to enrich the composition without detracting from the subject.


This will also allow more natural photographs to be obtained because the character will not be seen superimposed on a set. To achieve this effect, I recommend that you take advantage of natural elements such as branches, frames, or furniture.

Play With Shutter Speed


To take portrait photography, photography masters generally recommend high speeds, since they allow you to take snapshots to capture the personality of the model that poses for us.


Sometimes it is only necessary to capture a look or a gesture of the character to obtain in a single image his essence or the most characteristic feature that defines him.


Although you can also use a slower shutter speed if what you want is that in your images the sensation of movement is communicated.


For example, if your character is near a creek, if you use a slow shutter speed and the character stays still for a few seconds, you could get a silky effect on the water.


On the other hand, to generate that sensation of movement in your photographs, you can also ask the person to walk, stroke his hair, put his hands on his waist, in his pants pockets, or adjust his shirt collar.


In short, your mission as a photographer is to capture that movement that enriches the information you want to convey through your images.

Allow The Subject To Interact With Elements


If you allow your model to play with elements, it is very possible that he will forget about the presence of the camera, this will help him to relax and feel more comfortable. This way you will get a more natural portrait of the character.


For example, if your character has a hobby like reading, writing, or playing an instrument like the guitar or saxophone, then encourage him or her to do that. I assure you that you will be able to capture something of his personality that you did not know.

Show Your Model The Photos


During the development of the photographic session, show the photographs to the person who poses for you, this will help to generate a climate of greater trust and relaxation.


If your model is nervous or tense, this strategy can make your job easier. When the character discovers the image of her, he usually wants to always show himself better, so he will put more of her part to perform some poses or even give you ideas.


Use Different Angles And Heights


Always remember that to obtain a good portrait photograph, in addition to capturing the essence of the character, it is important to reveal it from other points of view so that it generates an impact on the viewer.


For that, you must resort to your creativity and capacity for expression. Play with perspectives and take advantage of all the elements such as lighting, composition, and angles to communicate strongly.


For example, if you are going to photograph a child, I advise you to capture their expressions from a different height than theirs and this also applies to adults, if necessary, get on a bench or drop to the ground. You will notice the difference.

Catch The Eye


This is one of the main rules of portrait photography since it could be said that the greatest expression of who we are is revealed through our eyes.


Our gaze is a deeply characteristic feature of who we are, so as photographers we must take this into account to focus and capture the expression of the subject.


It is not necessary for the character to look in the direction of the camera to capture his expression, you can also play with the direction of his gaze to create a strong point within the composition.


For example, if the character is looking to the right, take advantage of that direction to integrate it into the composition. When a viewer looks at the photograph he will follow that direction.

Use The Backlight


A portrait photograph can be taken both indoors and outdoors. Both techniques require certain conditions to control light.


Depending on how you adjust it, you will get different results, and this will depend on what you intend to communicate.


If the portrait you are going to take is in a studio, you should consider having a good set of lights and knowing how to control them and place them in the space according to what you intend to show.


But if you are going to photograph your character outdoors, then take advantage of all the possibilities that natural light offers you. Just learn the technique very well, and you will surely get beautiful images.

Take Advantage Of A Good Smile


Another essential rule in portrait photography that you should consider is the expressive power of a good smile.


In general, professional portrait photography has us accustomed to seeing very serious expressions, however, capturing a natural smile in the character is something that communicates strongly and immediately generates empathy in the observer.


If you manage to make your model smile, fantastic, it is one of the most beautiful expressions that transmit part of the personality of human beings.


Have a look: DIY Product Photo Editing Best Tips To Do It Quick

The Essence of Taking a Great Portrait Photograph

To conclude, portrait photography is one of the most interesting and at the same time most demanding topics in our work as photographers.


It’s important to consider both technical and creative tips to get great compositions that convey what you want to reveal about the character in front of your lens.


Capturing the personality or essence of the subject that poses before our eyes is the main objective of portrait photography.


If you get your character to show himself as he is, to give you the essence of his being, excellent, you will have fulfilled your mission.

Follow these tips and get to work.