Portrait examples

One of the bestt hings you can do to improve your portraits is practice. But it helps if you hacve some inspiration too. On this page you will find links to some expert portrait photographers, we hope you will enjoy them - and learn something valuable.

How to learn? Look at a protrait that you enjoy. Now look again carefully. Can you identify what it is about the photo that appeals?

Now look at the techniques used. Studio or on location? Can you tell?

Did teh photographer use natural light, flash, floodlights or maybe some of each?

Where is the light coming from?

How would you do it better? That's a tough question, but one that helps you to get to the heart of the shot.

Use your curiosity to 'reverse engineer' the image.

Thomas Blue photography

Striking and dark potraits from Malte Pietschmann

Amazing self portrait photography by Heather Hanrahan

Creative Portrait Photography by Nava Monde

Gritty portraits that make you think by Jack Davison

A selection of portraits from minsk, Belarus

A study of Nadar's portraits. Nadar was a Parisian photographer in the lastter half of the 1800s. His work was groundbreaking and still has many lessons for today's photograpner. Note the simple use of lighting and do take the time to view the video at the end of the post.

Into the mind of a master portrait photographer Arnold Newman. Iconinc potraits for you to study.


Taking portraits of older people

Most people love snapping the kids, who never sit still long enought for a "proper" portrait. But there' so much action that it doesn;t matter - they are still endearing.

So we then try out our photography skills on the teenagers and younger adults in the family. We can be wonderfully rewarded with some great shots, espeacially if you have been following the portrait hints and tips on this blog.

But what about the older family members? When people have gatheredd 50, 60 or 70 years of life experience this can become more of a challenge. Their skin doen't retain its youthful tension and plumpness; bags and wrinkles arise and the photographer faces a challenge. The subject can also become very self concious and may take some careful reassurance.

We all want pictures of our parents and grandpappy to treasure when they are not around. But making such a picture flattering without straying too far from capturing their character is quite a challenge.

So here's a series of excellent tips to help you on your way.

Starting out with portrait photography

From studying may blogs and writings by professionals there's a common thread running through the process that they all take - and it boils down to three steps.

  1. Decide on the pose you want. Ultraclose head shot, head and shoulders, full length portait and so on.
  2. Decide on your equipment and location. What lens should you choose? Is he background integral to the scene?
  3. Determine your lighting. Natural/ daylight? Flood lights and/ or flash?

Now chat to your subject and help them to relax and enter into the spirit of the occasion.

Here's more of what the experts say...

Getting started tips for budding portrait photographers.

Taking portraits outdoors? Here are the five key things to think about to help you to shoot great outdoor portraits - even if you are in a rush.

Looking for inspiration? Read this wonderful article about Arnold Newman Figure in the Frame

Here's five great tips for improving your portrait photography, all with illustrations so you can see what the photographer means.

Moving on up, once you are getting the hang of portrait photography here are 14 great tips.

So let's look at just one effect - it's called Bokeh. That's when the background of a picture is out of focus compared to the main subject. Let's see it in action.

Tony Here we have two portraits taken in the same lighting conditions. tony-V2

The strong spring sunlight has been diffused by the overhanging trees.

On the left the picture is more or less in focus front to back.

On the right the background is out of focus and so seems diffuse.

This helps the viewer's eye to concentrate on the central image - the portrait.

How do you do it with your camera?

If you have an 'A' or 'M' control then set your aperture as wide open as conditions allow.

If you have 'scene' modes then select the Portrait setting.

If you have neither then get in close so that the background seems further away.

If all else fails then fake it with post processing.

Portraits in a hurry

Sometimes there isn't much time to grab a picture. Maybe the family is off for a birthday lunch and there's only a few minutes to get the shot of the birthday boy or girl.

So where to go for inspiration?

Check out these intersting takes on snapping the important picture that will capture the day's most important person.

Here's a tip from the Guardian photographers.

And here's a tip for using ambient light supplemented by your flash.