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4 tips for achieving flattering portraits

The post 4 Tips for achieving flattering portraits first appeared at Digital Photography School. It is written by Lily Sawyer.

Flattering portraits rarely happen as standard. Some people are photogenic, yes, and look good in every corner. But we often work hard to make flattering photos that the babysitter loves. There is no trick because the face, shape and shape of each person are different. We have to adjust our angles to every portrait tenitter. However, there are fundamental fundamental tools that we can use to make flattering portraits.

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1. Use the correct lens

Now that I have been photographing people for around ten years, I have learned that there is no great all-round lens that can do the best job anywhere. Of course there are good lenses that give good results, but I would prefer specialist lenses for specific purposes.

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Let's take portraits, for example. A standard kit lens that comes with the purchase of a camera is usually a zoom lens of 18 mm – 55 mm. This is expected to be good for a wide viewing angle and a normal range. Yes, it's good for standard day-to-day snacks. But for portraits? A longer zoom lens, such as the 85 mm, 105 mm and 200 mm, is a much better choice for stunning portraits. These provide a shallow depth of field, great compression in the background and produce flattering portraits. There is no distortion as you would get when using wider lenses for portraits.

You can read more about choosing the best portrait lens here.

2. Use the correct angle for the person

Many women I photographed do not like having their portrait taken. They are aware of various imperfections on their faces, angles that they do not like and functions that they are self-aware about. This is normal and certainly applies to me. I am the worst portrait sitter.

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To make portraits that women love, I usually photograph both sides and show them the first few photos I take on the camera's LCD screen. They choose a preferred position and we take a few more from that angle. The worst thoughts are usually just in their thoughts. When they see their photos, even at the back of the camera, they realize that it is not as bad as they thought and there is a better side. They usually relax more from then on.

In general, I shoot at slightly higher than eye level for most women. This angle hides any unwanted necklines, cheeks narrow down and tapered a bit for a more flattering portrait.

When I shoot at an even higher level than normal, I ask them to look up at me, just a little bit, and that also gives me a confident attitude.

For men it is usually the exact opposite. Most male portraits are made within a few seconds. I notice that they are less self-conscious with a "let's continue with it, complete with an attitude" in a fun way. I ask them to stay as they usually do. If they are lanky, I ask them to straighten their backs a little, to square their shoulders and to look straight into the camera. Sometimes I let them lean something against a wall. I generally photograph men at eye level.

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Children, on the other hand, I look best photographed high from the waist. That means that I am always a little lower than she is – often sitting on the floor and looking up a little at them. This means that they do not look too small, and they get a boost of confidence that they are being looked up and not down to. Children often watch what they hold or play. By photographing from a lower angle, I can also clearly see their faces.

3. Use the correct type of lighting

Simply put, a short exposure is when the shadow side of the face is closer to the camera. By being in the shade, this side of the face is darker and therefore usually ' shorter ' in terms of the length of light that touches this side of the face. Wide illumination is the opposite when illuminated and the bright side of the face closer to the camera. Because it is brighter, it appears much wider and more light reaches a large part of the field of view.

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Brief lighting makes the face slimmer due to the shadows on the face. This can also produce strong contrasts, although you can soften the dark areas by using a reflector.

Wide lighting helps to make the face wider. Because this area is usually brightly lit compared to other areas, a stronger contrast between dark and light is usually created.

Use these two lighting types for the benefit of the person for more flattering results. You can read a more in-depth explanation of these two types of lighting here.

4. Cut correctly

Because I always edit my photos, I have the feeling that I can afford to change my composition in post-processing rather than always trying to get everything right in the camera. Don't get me wrong, I'm trying to get my compositions right, but I've found that I can always adjust it in a message to improve it. I shoot fast and can't always get the horizontals straight, so I correct this in the post. This means that I have to shoot a bit wider than the final result.

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I have no problems with cropping as long as it is not too aggressive and enough pixels remain in the image to produce fantastic prints.

There are, however, a few comments about cropping. For flattering portraits, never trim or take photos of your photos so that the edges and tangents are on the body joints such as elbows, knees, neck, wrist, shoulders, and over the abdomen. These look strange and somewhat disturbing. Always trim between or halfway through the joints, so chest, arms, hips, legs, calves and forehead are acceptable. You can read more about trimming tips to improve your image here.

I have photographed many women who were very aware of her body. For example, she was self-aware of her arms and yet she appears in a sleeveless top. In those cases I zoom in and cut the arms down lengthwise so that the photo shows only a third of the bare arm.

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You can also crop to move your image and strengthen your composition as a result. I find the use of the rule of third parties to be a very strong tool for composition and I tend to lean towards it. A symmetrical composition is also strong and effective. This is a good article about factors to take into account when compiling portraits.

I hope you have found these four tips for flattering portraits useful. If you have more tips to contribute, share them here in the comments below.

reach-flattering portraits

The post 4 Tips for achieving flattering portraits first appeared at Digital Photography School. It is written by Lily Sawyer.

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