Last week I started a series featuring the best portraits on Shadowness, where I include some awesome tutorials in conjunction with Photokore, a new stock image site specializing in the Asian market, to help you master the techniques required for outstanding photos such as the ones below.
For this feature I had to dig a little deeper in our galleries. Looks like we need more people shooting males ;)
More tips for shooting portraits:
Location, Background, and Props
Location & Background
The background will often determine choosing a location for your shoot. Whether you decide to shoot outdoors, or in a studio, choose a background that will work well with your subject. An uncluttered background is usually the best option. Any clutter in the background will distract attention away from your subject.
If you’re shooting outdoors, use a blue sky as a background (take your model to the roof of your apartment building, to the top of a hill). Or, find someplace that has a large nondescript wall that you can use as a background.
Hint: Want to find a big open space with diffuse light and an uncluttered background? Look around your city. Often, a vast open space with light coming in from skylights can be found at a nearby university, public building, or art museum. With your aperture set as wide as possible (f/2 for example), the background will be thrown out of focus.
If you’re shooting indoors, and you want a plain background, try using a plain, white bed sheet. Hang it on a wall behind your subject, and you’ll instantly have an inexpensive studio background!
After you’ve decided on your background, gather some props if you think they’ll enhance the photo. For example, if you’re shooting your little daughter, get her favorite teddy bear and have her hug it for the photo. Sometimes the most common things will enhance who the subject is, and will make for a better portrait.
Keep the composition simple
Like all types of photography, portrait images when kept simple are most effective. There are several ways to create good composition for portraits - first off is to have a natural color background so that the subject will stand out.
Focus on the eyes
The eyes are the most import part of any portrait. They should be the focal point of any headshot and be 100 percent sharp.
Hint: Eye contact or the direction of the eyes of your subject plays a significant role in portrait photography. A different eye direction can bring great impact on the portrait. Instead of the subject look straight into the camera lens, you can have them look at another subject within the frame, or you ask the subject look outside the frame as if the subject's attention is towards something that is out of the focus of the camera lens.
Positioning the subject
Placement of the subject is very important. Get your subject to sit at an angle to the camera so that their shoulders are at 45 degrees to the lens. Then ask them to rotate their head until they are looking directly at the lens.
Hint: You can change the appearance of your subject by changing their position or the position of the camera. If your subject has a double chin get the subject to lean forward and raise the camera height. If the subject has a bald head lower the height of the camera.
The hands of your subject can be a distraction - to avoid this in full length body shots ask the subject to fold them. You can always ask the subject to hold an object but be careful that the object will not take attention away from the subject.
Check out more awesome tutorials on stock and portrait photography at
Sep 18th, 2011