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How to Shoot a Stunning Portrai

Today we’re going to talk about portrait photography – shots in which the main character is a person. We’re not going to look at the advertising portrait. We’re going to tell you what a successful shot is and how to catch the right moment. If you are a beginner photographer and want to read more tutorials, we recommend Skylum’s blog. There you will find detailed instructions on how to invert a picture on iPhone, editing tips, and detailed instructions. These materials are useful for beginners and professionals alike. You can take a great portrait with both your camera and your smartphone.

As for this topic, many of us like to peek through the keyhole. A portrait that has a story or captures an emotional moment is more likely to be of interest to the viewer. Photography, of course, is one opportunity to peek into someone else’s life from a very close distance.

Some beginner’s mistakes

The main mistake a beginner photographer makes in portrait photography is the attitude towards the process according to the principle “Hey friend, I’m free, let’s go for a walk with the camera and let’s shoot something at the same time”. If you have nothing to say in your photos, there’s no reason for the viewer to look at them either. But when you have something to share, you have a reference point from which to frame the shot.

Let’s talk about the tools that allow you to create a story. Every piece has to fit for the image to be cohesive. You can not create the feeling that in the frame of a solid man if he’s in a cheap sweater. A portrait can be put together like a still life. Think about what detail of the character or story you want to reveal and how to show it in the frame. A stain on your shirt and a matching hairstyle can tell of absent-mindedness. A slouchy posture suggests either depression or that the person is cold. Think about what exactly you want to say about the character in the frame. Ask yourself questions:

  • What is his mood?
  • What is the character’s social standing?
  • How old is he?
  • What is his profession?

The more answers you have, the more chances and opportunities you have to create a coherent image. You may not end up showing the answers to all of these questions in the frame. But, as my grandfather used to say, better overdo it than underdo it. It’s better to ask unnecessary questions than to dress a respectable lady in cheap costume jewelry.

Expressive tools

So, we have a story and a mood that you want to convey. Let’s also consider how we can enhance the content of the frame. It’s worth thinking about what the tone of the frame will be (dark or light), what the texture of the clothes and the background (rough, soft, sharp), and so on.

You may build a portrait, based on the idea, and choose a model for the shooting that suits your type. But in a commercial shoot, you often have to work with a specific person. Here the principle is the same, but you may face the fact that your desire to express the mood is crushed by the categorical resistance of a client who does not want to express emotions and is convinced that “men do not dance” and do not smile. In this case, it makes sense to pay more attention to symbols that create atmosphere and emphasize content.

You can’t forget about editing. To get a great result, sometimes you just need to work with a photo editor, inverting the colors, removing some imperfections, or using presets. You don’t have to use Photoshop, you can use other modern photo editors such as Luminar Neo. You can even edit on your tablet or smartphone. If you need to quickly change colors and look at the effect, then read beforehand how to invert a picture on iPhone.

Artistic component

What’s more important for the artistic component of the shot is not what emotions the person we’re shooting is experiencing, but how to make the viewer believe in the story and feel their own emotions. For example, if you want to add intimacy to a photo, ask the model to close her eyes, relax her facial muscles and open her lips. We can allow ourselves to close our eyes where we feel safe, and open our lips during deep breathing. All of this together will lead the viewer to think of arousal even if in reality there was none.

We have trusting conversations in semi-darkness, and in semi-darkness, a person’s pupils are more likely to dilate. To enhance the viewer’s confidence in the model, retouchers sometimes dilate the pupils. Sometimes inverting colors when retouching has a powerful effect. You can see it by trying to invert photos on an iPhone right now.

We also want to note that a person has a lot of facial muscles and our subconscious can read them. The viewer most often does not believe the simulated emotions because not all facial expressions are included, which works when a person is experiencing real feelings. It is worth understanding how to amplify the emotion, but at the same time do not neglect the model’s acting work in the frame.

The older a person is, the more pronounced his facial folds and wrinkles. Respectively when photographing such people it is easier to accentuate their mood with light and shade. Shots of faces with the imprint of experience are likely to attract more attention from the viewer than shots of smooth young faces. When we say experience, I don’t mean something abstract, but rather quite specific signs: age (indicated, for example, by wrinkles), scars, and the like.

If you need to see how to invert a picture on an iPhone or read other interesting tutorials, go to the official website of the Skylum developer.

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