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Tips From A Portrait Photographer

We all can learn something from portrait photographers to make our selfies and even group photos more appealing. The main ingredient to a good portrait photo is just a dash of imagination. What we want to avoid like the plague is the standard standing facing straight ahead type of shot. This is most unattractive way to photograph anyone including a supermodel.

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How Do We Be Creative With Standing Portraits?

Instead of shooting your subject facing directly at the camera ask your subject to twist slightly in either direction. Twist at the waist or move your feet, but face the camera at an angle rather than straight on.

Instead of the standard straight leg look have your subject bend their knee or place one leg over the other leg. For added interest move the legs wider than shoulder length.

Have your model do something with their arms. Straight arms are boring. Have your model put their hands on their hips flaring their elbows out to create a dramatic pose. If you want to get fancy have your model try poses with the arms above their head. Anything but straight boring arms.

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Combine a twist at the waist with a bent knee and arms above the head and now you have an interesting photo. Be creative and try different poses. Keep in mind that portrait photographers shoot hundreds of photos to get the few great ones folks swoon over for being great.

Being Creative With Seated Portraits

Just like standing, directly facing the camera portraits, seated directly facing the camera portraits also rank high on the boring list. Again the key is imagination.

If you going to have your subject directly face the camera try having them bend at the waist with their elbows on their knees resting their head in their hands. Perhaps sitting straight up with their legs crossed and their hands on their laps. Maybe legs spread with their hands resting on their knees.

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Now if you want to get fancy have your model sit sideways in the chair. Have your model move their legs and arms in interesting positions to mix up the look. Have them lean back and kick one or both legs in the air.


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Don’t be afraid to move the chair from directly facing the camera to slightly sideways, fully sideways, or the chair facing the camera with it’s back. Have your model explore and have fun using the chair as a prop.

Getting Super Creative

Instead of shooting your model at normal eye level try shooting your model from kneeling position or try standing on something stable to achieve a bird’s eye view.

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A normal facial expression is a smile. Have your model try growling at the camera, say something funny and click your model in full laughter, or have your model try a mean face to mix things up a bit.

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Try tilting the camera or phone slightly to create a visual allusion. Get super close to your model and focus on body parts instead of the full body. Have your model turn away from the camera and look back.

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The main idea is to have your model do anything but face the camera with straight arms and legs with the standard smile.

It only takes a moment and a bit of experimenting to create interesting photos. Whether your at a night club or standing in front of scenic view, change things up a bit to create an interesting photo that will have your friends praising you for your photography skills.

Next article: Long Exposure Photography

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  1. Great tips! I love your down to earth photography discussion.

  2. I like the stripped down approach of this article.

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