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Making a portrait is relatively easy to do and anything can generally be considered a portrait. However, photographing a portrait that’s creative and interesting can sometimes be a bit more challenging.
Here are four tips to get you started on creating interesting portraits.
1. Use Metering for Creative Effect
The way you meter a scene while setting up to take a photograph can greatly alter your final image when shooting with analog cameras.
Metering for the highlights in an image can result in deep shadows, creating mood and tonality. Metering for shadows can brighten and soften an image and result in more balance between tones overall.
Depending on your creative goal, metering with intention provides control and options in your image making process.
If you want to
learn more about metering with film, check out this article here, and you can also check out my favorite light meter app here. 2. Use Cropping as a Creative Tool
I believe that cropping is one of the most overlooked tools that all of us as photographers have access to.
The crop tool is very powerful and can completely change your final image. Any photograph, be it of a person or of an inanimate object, has a subject and a focal point.
The crop tool can be used to accentuate the most interesting aspect of a photo – or can be used to create an entirely ‘new’ photo.
When photographing a human subject, the eyes are usually the focal point in the image. When we look at an image, we are drawn to facial features, and the eyes can connect a viewer to the subject.
A catchlight is simply light that is reflected off of the subject’s eye in a photo.
Although a very small component in an image, catchlights being present can make a so-so image come alive and can allow a viewer to more closely connect with a photo.
If you’re not seeing a catchlight in your subject’s eyes, angle your subject’s face towards the light source.
Different light sources can create catchlights that are different shapes and sizes, and if you have multiple light sources, you’ll see multiple catchlights in your subject’s eyes.
4. Include the Environment in Your Portrait
Backing up and creating more space between yourself and your subject can add more context, and thus creativity, to a scene.
Including more of the environment allows you to tell more of a story about your subject: this could be where they are, where they are from, or what they do.
That’s it for me guys. I hope that these tips help bring more life to your portraiture and help you to approach your subjects with a new perspective.
Thank you so much, John! John is a regular contributor here at Shoot It With Film, and you can check out
his other articles here, such as a 11 Amazing Film Photographers Share Their Best Tips for Shooting Film and the best light meter app for film photography.
You can also check out more of John’s work on his
website and Instagram.
If you have questions about how to create interesting portraits, leave them below in the comments!