Getting some stunning headshots done is a vital for anyone looking to embark on a career involving modelling, or perhaps acting. However, getting it done professionally can be expensive – an expense that not everyone can afford. Fortunately, there are ways of obtaining a more professional impression, even if you haven’t got the professional gear! If you want to obtain some beautiful portraits, whether for your portfolio or simply to hang on the wall as a canvas print, then these tips should help:
Change the angle. When you say the word ‘portrait’ a great many people will mentally conjur up the traditional, head-on, just-the-face image. However, some truly great portraits can be obtained by simply changing the angle at which the photo is taken. Try shooting down at the subject looking up, or vice versa. Changing the angle can give the subject a completely different air, and really separate your shots from the thousands of eye-level ones out there.
Mess around with eye contact. Again, the most common approach for portraits is to have the subject looking down the lens towards the viewer. However, because this is so common, taking a different approach can again present a completely different air. For instance, having the subject focusing on something outside of the frame can present a more candid impression, as well as increasing the levels of intrigue. Another alternative is to have them looking at something else within the frame, whether it be a friend, partner or even just their dinner! This can help give the image a bit of ‘story’.
Use different lighting. Lighting can have a massive effect on a portrait, so it can be fun to experiment with it. Side-lighting, for instance, can help to create a real moody image, as can using rear lighting to create a silhouette. Effects like a slow synch flash can create some really cool effects too, especially when used in combination with more colourful lighting.
Try some candid photos. Whilst accusing portraits of being ‘posed’ is a bit of an odd criticism (surely that’s sort of the point?), there’s no denying that when completely planned and professional, some photos do end up looking a bit lifeless. One way to help obtain a more natural feel is simply to go with a more candid approach. Set up your gear, and have the subject do something that they like – whether it be reading, exercising or playing an instrument – and then don’t tell them when the photos are coming. You’d be amazed at the stunning shots that can be obtained when the subject feels that little bit more comfortable.