From awkward poses to children who just won’t stay still, portrait photography can seem like a challenge at the best of times, and it can be difficult trying to get that perfect shot. However, there are certain tips and tricks you can try to make things turn out a little more smoothly.

In this blog post we’ve put together five easy portrait photography tips for taking extra special portraits.

Frame your subject

To add depth to an image and draw the eye to your subject, try framing. Simply put, framing is a technique which involves using one element of your image to draw attention to another.

You could frame your subject by placing them in a doorway, a window or porthole – you could even place their hands to create a frame around their face.

Old man and a boy, Cuba by Ion Paciu

An old man and a boy by Ion Paciu, tutor at Photoion Photography School

Julia & Savannah as a doll, photos by Angela Strassheim

Julia & Savannah as a doll, photos by Angela Strassheim

Cuban woman by Tatiana Zigar

Cuban woman by Tatiana Zigar, Photoion Photography Team

Experiment with backgrounds

Although your main focal point is going to be the person you’re photographing, placing them in various different backgrounds can alter the mood of a shot dramatically. Alternatively, you may just want to go for a more classic black and white look.

Left: The westerns, by Kathy Grannan Right: photo by Philip Lorcia Di Corcia

Left: The westerns, by Kathy Grannan – Right: photo by Philip Lorcia Di Corcia

Play with angles

Not everything has to be straight up-and-down; sometimes images can appear more fun and dynamic if you hold your camera at an angle. Be bold though, otherwise some may wonder if the shoot is simply crooked.

photo by Ion Paciu taken with a wide angle lens from below

Photo by Ion Paciu taken with a wide angle lens from below

Wide angle lens

For some creative, dramatic and memorable shots, use a wide angle lens. This works particularly well in busy or unusual settings, and the wide focal lengths can also help you create some brilliant distortion to make things a bit more interesting.

X-woman taken slightly from above with wide abgle lens by Ion Paciu, tutor at Photoion Photography School

‘The X-woman’ taken slightly from above with a wide angle lens by Ion Paciu, tutor at Photoion Photography School

Movement

Portrait shots can often appear very static or unnatural and forced. Introducing a bit of movement add life to portrait, if done correctly. You can achieve the look of movement by either moving your camera as you take a photo, getting your subject to move, or leaving your subject still but introducing motion into the background – such as a crowd scene, a pet dog, or another person.

Portraits by Hellen van Meene

Portraits by Hellen van Meene

Schnecksville Community Fair, 2005. Photo by Greg Miller using movement in the background and asking his subjects to perform an action in the foreground

Schnecksville Community Fair, 2005. Photo by Greg Miller using movement in the background and asking his subjects to perform an action in the foreground

Our courses

If you’re interested in further sharpening your skills and learning more about the various professional photography techniques for taking stunning photos, why not take a look at some of our photography courses? click here 

Photos by Alessandra Sanguinetti

Photos by Alessandra Sanguinetti

(featured image: Alicia in the Pool, photo by Angela Strassheim)