Portrait Photography Vs People Photography

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Do you know the difference between people photography and portrait photography? People photography is simply snapping pictures of friends without thinking of how it might turn out. Portrait photography gets photos one step closer to looking like they were shot by a professional. There are many elements to be considered in portrait photography. One is the angle at which you take the photograph, the expression of emotion on the subject's face, and the lighting that will be used. Just because you may be an amateur snapping photos at a family gathering, you still need the same basic knowledge which is used by professionals.

It is important to study the subjects face in order to determine the angle from which you should shoot. It's important to capture their better side since a lot of people do have one. The subject could have a facial feature that is asymmetrical, or it could be something obvious like a scar or blemish. In the case of an asymmetrical feature, the angle of the camera can either hide the feature or make it look worse than it really is, depending on which way the subject's face is angled. Even though the angle can hide certain imperfections, the photograph still clearly captures the subject.


Portrait photography is about capturing the personality of the subject or their essence. You will want to make sure your subjects are relaxed. If you want to become a professional portrait photographer, you may want to meet with your client before the session so you can learn about them beforehand as well as while you are taking pictures. Be sure to notice the little nuances of their face since those add character to the portrait. If they are friends are family then this is an easy task since you probably already know about their personality, making it easier to capture it on film.

Lighting is the next important step to portrait photography. A lot of photographers prefer natural light to artificial. Your subject will in part decide this for you. Remember you will use the light you have. Natural light will often require setting the aperture to compensate for the cameras lack of definition. In other words you need to create the contrast with the light and shadows for the effect you want. Often artificial light is harsh and not directed properly unless in a studio. Again you will need to use the manual settings on your camera to create the perfect portrait.


The background is another important element in a quality photograph and must work well with the lighting. A professional photographer will pick a background that will not wash out the subject's clothing or their features. There must be contrast or distinction between them and their background. This is even important even when you are shooting photographs at home. Be sure to pick a background that gives color to your subject and definitely not one that takes it away. You will also want to make sure the background is not too busy. A tree to sit on with mountains in the background may be a great portrait, but on the other hand it could take away or distract from the subject. The subject needs to be a part of the picture and not outside of it.

Of course the quality and type of camera and film also determine the quality of your photograph. Once you get to know your subject and use the methods used by professionals such as angles and lighting, you will be able to create a more professional portrait for your family and friends for any occasion. Wouldn't creating a portrait be much better than simply snapping a picture?

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