RichPointofView

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The official blog of RichPointofView is to inform, educate, and inspire in all things photography related. Original articles showcasing the behind the scenes of various photography styles. Richard is a photography enthusiast and entrepreneur based in Harlem, NY.

10 Tips to Take Amazing Portraits

Glow
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Are you a lover of contemporary art or of nature photography??

Each print is signed and numbered. This is a first edition of this fine art print and is limited to 50 pieces altogether, ranging from various sizes and prices.

Printed on Moab Estrada — a matte paper with museum grade archival ratings, and a luxe presentation.

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How do you take Portraits that have the ‘Wow’ factor?

Today and tomorrow I want to talk about taking portraits that are a little out of the box. You see it’s all very well and good to have a portrait that follows all the rules – but it hit me as I was surfing on Pinterest today that often the most striking portraits are those that break all the rules.

I want to look at some ways to break out of the mold and take striking portraits by breaking (or at least bending) the rules and adding a little randomness into your portrait photography.

1. Alter Your Perspective

Most portraits are taken with the camera at (or around) the eye level of the subject. While this is good common sense – completely changing the angle that you shoot from can give your portrait a real WOW factor.

2. Play with Eye Contact

It is amazing how much the direction of your subject’s eyes can impact an image. Most portraits have the subject looking down the lens – something that can create a real sense of connection between a subject and those viewing the image. But there are a couple of other things to try:

A. Looking off camera – have your subject focus their attention on something unseen and outside the field of view of your camera. This can create a feeling of candidness and also create a little intrigue and interest as the viewer of the shot wonders what they are looking at. This intrigue is particularly drawn about when the subject is showing some kind of emotion (ie ‘what’s making them laugh?’ or ‘what is making them look surprised?’). Just be aware that when you have a subject looking out of frame that you can also draw the eye of the viewer of the shot to the edge of the image also – taking them away from the point of interest in your shot – the subject.

B. Looking within the frame – alternatively you could have your subject looking at something (or someone) within the frame. A child looking at a ball, a woman looking at her new baby, a man looking hungrily at a big plate of pasta…. When you give your subject something to look at that is inside the frame you create a second point of interest and a relationship between it and your primary subject. It also helps create ‘story’ within the image.

Peaceful Dreams
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Do you love the spring season and everything it represents? Warm weather, flowers blooming. If so, this photography print is for you. Featuring a purple flower, which represents peace, this captures the essence of spring time, no matter where you live. This macro photograph is a must have for flower lovers!

Printed on Luster paper, giving each image a vibrant and detailed finish.

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3. Break the Rules of Composition

There are a lot of ‘rules’ out there when it comes to composition and I’ve always had a love hate relationship with them. My theory is that while they are useful to know and employ that they are also useful to know so you can purposely break them – as this can lead to eye catching results.

The Rule of Thirds is one that can be effective to break – placing your subject either dead centre can sometimes create a powerful image – or even creative placement with your subject right on the edge of a shot can sometimes create interesting images.

Another ‘rule’ that we often talk about in portrait photography is to give your subject room to look into. This can work really well – but again, sometimes rules are made to be broken.

4. Experiment with Lighting

Another element of randomness that you can introduce to your portraits is the way that you light them. There are almost unlimited possibilities when it comes to using light in portraits.

Side-lighting can create mood, backlighting and silhouetting your subject to hide their features can be powerful.

5. Move Your Subject Out of their Comfort Zone

This is self explanatory. Try something new and see what stands out!

Not So Busy Bee
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Are you a lover of contemporary art or of macro photography??

Each print is signed and numbered. This is a first edition of this fine art print and is limited to 50 pieces altogether, ranging from various sizes and prices.

Spring is a wonderful time to flowers and insects. Bees are usually busy, collecting pollen or nectar but in this case, the bee was idle long enough for me to capture a great overhead shot with the help of natural light.

Printed on Moab Estrada — a matte paper with museum grade archival ratings, and a luxe presentation.

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6. Shoot Candidly

Sometimes posed shots can look somewhat…. posed. Some people don’t look good in a posed environment and so switching to a candid type approach can work.

Photograph your subject at work, with family or doing something that they love. This will put them more at ease and you can end up getting some special shots with them reacting naturally to the situation that they are in. You might even want to grab a longer zoom lens to take you out of their immediate zone and get really paparazzi with them.

7. Introduce a Prop

Add a prop of some kind into your shots and you create another point of interest that can enhance your shot.

Yes you might run the risk of taking too much focus away from your main subject but you could also really add a sense of story and place to the image that takes it in a new direction and gives the person you’re photographing an extra layer of depth that they wouldn’t have had without the prop.

8. Focus Upon One Body Part – Get Close Up

Get a lens with a long focal length attached to your camera – or get right in close so that you can just photograph a part of your subject. Photographing a person’s hands, eyes, mouth or even just their lower body… can leave a lot to the imagination of the viewer of an image.

Sometimes it’s what is left out of an image that says more than what is included.

9. Obscure Part of your Subject

A variation on the idea of zooming in on one part of the body is to obscure parts of your portrait subject’s face or body. You can do this with clothing, objects, their hands or just by framing part of them out of the image.

Doing this means that you leave a little to the imagination of the image’s viewer but also focus their attention on parts of your subject that you want them to be focused upon.

10. Take a Series of Shots

Switch your camera into ‘burst’ or ‘continuous shooting’ mode and fire off more than one shot at a time.

In doing this you create a series of images that could be presented together instead of just one static image.

Below, you can find other examples with these tips coming into play! Happy shooting and go out and experiment with your portrait photography.