Dealing with people is hard enough, but when you add a camera into the mix, it gets even trickier! Most people either shy away from the camera, or freeze up completely the minute they see the lens – which as you can imagine, does not make for great photos. Yet, some of the best photos out there involve people, their emotions – raw and real – captured for posterity. If you’re thinking of trying out your hand at portrait photography, or are finding it tricky managing your models, here are out 6 helpful tips to bringing out the best in your subject.
Tip 1: shoot them in their natural environment
One of the best ways to capture your subject at their most natural is to shoot them where they feel most comfortable. This will naturally translate onto the lens – think a chef in his kitchen, a rider on her horse or a golf pro captured mid-swing. Be sure to include elements of the surrounding to enhance the image’s story.
Tip 2: shoot them from above
Typically when we shoot people, it’s always from below or at face-level – why not try a bird’s eye perspective for something different? This way, you have the added advantage of the shot being purely candid if you are shooting street photography.
Tip 3: get up close and personal
The human face is extremely intricate and is so uniquely different from the next that it merits some close up shots! Use a telephoto or zoom lens if you are uncomfortable approaching people, otherwise, use a portrait lens and get in there. As always, when you are shooting close ups, always place focus on the eyes.
Tip 4: collaborate with models
Working with a model will give you a better understanding of how the human body moves, and over time will train you to identify a person’s best angles. You’ll also be able to practice directing them, which will help build your confidence for professional shoots. Approach freelance models or modelling agencies – you might be able to work with some without having to pay a fee if you do not publish the images commercially.
Tip 5: shoot them totally candidly
People are stories, and every day scenes are but the stages for these stories to come alive. If street photography is your thing, then the world around you is your playground. The best part is, when your subjects are completely at ease and are unaware of you, you can bet your shot will be authentic. The trick here is to be able to blend into the background; on these days, we go light in terms of gear. Nothing is more conspicuous then the guy with 2 cameras and a bunch of lenses strapped to his person!
Tip 6: shoot events
Keep yourself updating on the different events that are happening around your city. Shooting at festivals or parties are the best way to practice your portraiture skills as people are generally in a good mood and are more than willing to be photographed! However, do check if you are required to have a permit if you want to take photos beforehand.