Portrait photography is one of the primary genres, being fundamental to the art form itself. This is because it is a refined form of live-subject photography, in which the majority of the focus (both literal and figurative), is pulled in close towards the subject.
The 5 Essential Ingredients for Excellent Portrait Photography
Just like any other genre of photography, portraiture has some vital elements that go into making a portrait-based image perfect. To that end, following are the ingredients that go into making a portrait image beautiful.
1) Large Aperture Option
One of the defining traits of a portrait lens is the expansive aperture, which opens to f1.8 at the very least. This is to get the all-important bokeh effect in your photos, which basically blurs out the background and makes any lighting objects look like soft circles. In addition to that, the blurred background and foreground levels most of the focus on the subject, thereby highlighting their features.
2) Sufficient Focal Length
The focal length of the lens being used, has to be sufficient to enable photos being taken from at least 3 feet away. Since this is the optimal length, which makes for the best possible sharpness and image quality, as well as composition level (in case of a prime lens).
3) Natural Lighting
Despite the prevalence of studio-based portrait photography, the fact remains that a perfect portrait will always be one that is taken outdoors. Since the natural yellow light displays the entire spectrum as is, without absorbing any colors as artificial light does, you can be sure of the most authentic color tones with natural lighting.
4) Tight Composition
It is a well known fact that the portrait format of composition frames the face and the upper torso of the person. This is a necessity, in order for the photo to be called a portrait. However, a somewhat tighter frame takes away some of the visual attention from other features of the subject, and places it squarely on the face, for an even more intense and mesmerizing portrait.
5)A High-Resolution Camera
Say what you will, there is no replacement for a camera that takes razor sharp images, which can be magnified enough to be put on billboards! A detailed portrait is an inclusive and engaging one, and as there are no background or foreground details in the photo, the tight composition on the subject has to compensate for the detail. This is why a high-resolution DSLR will work best, for portrait photography.
Composition and Framing Knowledge
Perhaps the most important ingredient of all, is the knowledge of how to frame and compose a portrait, as well as how to bend some of the rules to end up with a great photo. The secret here is spot-testing, which basically means that you have to test multiple compositions in order to find the best.
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