How to Take Unique Portrait Photos

Sometimes, the best portrait photos are taken in the street. With a special portrait lens, smartphone cameras allow you to capture moments in time that might otherwise go unnoticed. An important tip in portrait photography is to capture candid moments.

That is all good when you have got some prior experience with photography. But if you’ve never taken portraits of people before, you may have trouble knowing where to start. The tips below can help you take better portrait photos, and they can all be used in any location: 

  • Change your perspective: Whether you’re an amateur photographer or a professional, getting unique shots of subjects is half the battle of capturing beautiful images. The other half of the battle is figuring out how to get unique shots in the first place. Sure, you can try to get creative with your angles, lighting, or composition, but why not take it a step further? Changing your perspective for a unique shot is a great way to take that portrait photo capture to the next level.
  • Get that perfect eye contact: Taking portrait photos is a tricky business. Usually, you have to worry about getting the right expression on a subject’s face, making sure you capture the light, sizing up whether the subject is looking away or at you, and not forgetting about the safety of your subject. But the eyes can make or break a photograph. It is the eyes that make the subject look alive, engaging, and interesting. If you use the camera correctly, the image of the eyes becomes an important part of the portrait.
  • Break the portrait composition rule: One of the rules in portrait composition is the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds is intuitive but easy to overthink and overcompensate for. It’s one of the rules of portrait composition you should feel comfortable breaking, so long as doing so can lend a unique element of style to your shots. To capture distinctive portrait photos, try not to take everything head-on. Shoot from an angle, but take a diagonal shot instead of a straight-on shot.
  • Play with lighting: Lighting is a critical component of photography. And one of the easiest ways to alter the quality of a photo is to experiment with your light sources. When it comes to portraits, altering your light source changes the tonality of the highlights and shadow areas. In doing so, you can dramatically change the appearance of your subject. Try experimenting with different lighting to see what works best for you.
  • Use props: Portrait photography is a staple of the photography industry, and knowing how to take unique portraits is one of the best ways to become an accomplished photographer. To take your portraits to the next level, you can incorporate props as part of your photograph. Props bring life to the picture and can help add a whimsical feel to your photos. Great props are often the simplest too – a flower, tea pot, hat – just about anything that will add that extra bit of distinctness to your portraits.
  • Focus on the body of your subject: For a quick and easy way to get great shots, try photographing your subject with your camera focused on their body. Point your camera directly at your subject, and then zoom in. The results can be surprisingly pleasing.
  • Shoot a series: Portrait photos look great, but taking them can be a daunting task. Many cameras have preset modes that tend to produce similar-looking photos. So, how do you capture a unique portrait photo? Shoot a series. Portraits are all about capturing people, and you can’t capture a person unless you pay attention to their movements. So, when you take a series of shots, each with a different pose, you can get an idea of what your subjects want to do next.

Portrait photos can be tricky. It’s difficult to capture someone with a natural depth of field, a natural range of tones and colors, and no unflattering shadows or distracting glares. But with a little practice and lots of patience, anyone can learn how to take great portraits.

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