What is Portrait Photography?
Running from the scholar definitions, I’d describe it as the subkect of photography that produces pictures that capture the personality of a subject (living) by using effective lighting, backdrops, and poses. It can it broke into some branches, such as be artistic, clinical, traditional, environmental, glamour and fashion, lifestyle, conceptual, abstract, self-portrait, and so on.
It is a very common form of photography, since there are numerous subjects around us. The focus on the subject (ie person) doesn’t mean it’s just about focusing the shot on the face – the empathic sentiments are often away from it, allowing the photographer to work with the environment.
Either it’s a rehearsed photoshoot (let’s say an editorial portrait) or snapshot that the photographer just “happened” to take, both are worth the appreciation.
A composed (or rehearsed) photo in a still position means that the portrait photographer had had the time and need to prepare the subject and environment and the subject would be following a cue.
“What do I need to shoot portraits?”
- The subject: the person to be take a photo of. In the early days, all of the subjects in portraitures looked into the lens of the portrait photographer’s camera. These days, they may or may not look at the camera. Some also have distinct angles that they want captures that’s why they sit in a specific position in front of the camera as well. The subjects may be professionals, amateurs or just passers-by 🙂
- A nice sharp 500m f/1.8 is a great weapon of choice. Not being a zoomable lens means it’s easier for the photographer to focus on the subject and blur the background. Also, it allows for low light photography (if you can get a 50mm f/1.4, even better!). An 85mm f/1.4 is also a great choice.
- Zoomable lenses are also allowed! Don’t think that by recommending non-zoomable lenses first that other lenses aren’t allowed. They are and you have some great quality choices. I usually use a 17-70 f/2.8 lens – it’s fast, and it’s multipurpose lens. It has a nice range, which brings me to the second recommendation: the 70-200mm lenses are nice as well, because they allow you to shoot subjects a bit far from you.
- Light: If your shooting indoors or in a studio, you’ll need lighting sets with lights from the front and backbut it varies with the shots you’re taking.Thinking about light and test it before going final, because just moving the light will give you different feelings, even if the subject is in the exact same place and position.
I’ll write more about Portrait Photography later this week, so drop me your questions and I’ll be sure to answer them on that post. 🙂
Have a great week!