10 Portrait Photo Ideas for Great Portraits

portrait photo ideas

Portrait photography is one of the most common types of photography. There are many uses for this type of photography – for your creative portfolio, for keeping memories in your photo album, or for professional use. Whatever the purpose of getting your portraits done, it is important to capture the personality and emotions of the subject. 

Here are the top ten portrait photo ideas to help you capture portraits that reflect the inherent character of the subject. 


1. Use Natural Lighting

Natural light is the best source of lighting when taking portraits. However, working with natural light can be tricky and it will take a bit of practice to get right.

You should never work with direct sunlight as this can create unwanted shadows. Use natural light from a window or screen. This will ensure that the harsh lighting is softened slightly so you can capture an awesome portrait shot. It’s also an inexpensive alternative to studio lighting equipment that comes with a hefty price tag. 


2. Explore Your Angles

When it comes to shooting portraits, you don’t always have to shoot directly in front of the subject. You can explore unconventional angles to give it a creative twist. Trying out different angles can be risky so it is best to explore as many angles as possible to find the most flattering one.

Some of the different shooting positions to try are from high up or from a shallow position. The right angle can create a huge impact on the resulting portrait. 

ways to capture great portraits

3. Take Advantage of Shadows

Shadow play is a crucial element to creative portrait photo ideas. It can also add a dramatic effect on the photos. 

You need to experiment with your light source to create your desired shadow effect. Shadows, when used well, can exude emotions that you wish to convey through the portrait photo. 


4. Focus on the Subject – You

Since you are shooting a portrait, it is always a good idea to frame the subject. While not unique, it is a tested and proven method. By framing the subject, it will draw attention to the main “star” of the portrait. It’s also a great way to tell the story of a subject, and it’s ideal if you’re working on a personal branding photoshoot.


5. Make it Candid

Candid portrait photos are also a great way to achieve dramatic results. A lot of portrait subjects – such as those not used to being in front of the camera – might feel awkward or uncomfortable posing in front of the camera.

Instead of posing, you can ask the subject to be candid instead. Engaging in natural activities and shooting the subject at the moment is a great way to yield creative portrait shots. 


6. Capture Expressions

Artistic portrait photo ideas are the ones that capture the expressions and emotions of the subject. Just like taking a candid shot, ask the subject to portray emotions naturally – it can be a faint smile or a deep stare. Any of these expressions can invoke a reaction from anyone that sees the portrait. The ability to evoke emotions is one of the characteristics of great portrait shots.


7. Background Matters

The background of the photo speaks volumes in terms of how it affects the overall shot. You don’t have to limit yourself to taking photos in a studio. A natural background can also enhance the effect of the portrait. 

Try not to over-do the background. Keep in mind that the subject must be the focus of the portrait photo. Use the background to make the subject stand out.


8. Pick a Color Palette

Take advantage of color to enhance the overall look of your portrait. However, you should not incorporate too many colors so as to take attention away from the subject. Use color to establish a palette for your portrait photo. You can also use it to enhance the mood. 

Sticking to a color palette will increase the overall impact of your shots.

creative photo portrait ideas

9. Explore Various Techniques

Taking full advantage of the features and capabilities of the camera is another way to achieve the best portraits. Feel free to experiment with various camera settings such as overexposure. This will take your portraits a notch higher. Using various photography settings will help create high-resolution images that look professional. 


10. Work with a Professional Photographer

Working with a professional photographer is one of the best ways to capture great portraits. An experienced photographer knows the tricks of the trade. They know the basic elements that make great portraits. Plus, they can guide you when posing or smiling in front of the camera to capture your true essence in the photo. 

Portrait photography is pretty straightforward, unlike other photography styles. But it does not mean it should be boring. You can explore these portrait photo ideas and capture the essence of the subject.

Next Portrait Photoshoot Ideas: Do’s and Don’ts
portrait photoshoot ideas

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