What is a portrait? Is it a well composed image of a well-dressed person? Folded hands, combed hair, smiling, with a perfect make up? That's for sure a portrait but just one kind, which has been done and seen before - many, many times. Here you will hopefully find portraits that not only look good, but as well ... different.
People are always the sum of something. Mostly there are the features of faces, like nose, eyes, ears etc. But what if the focus is narrowed down. If you zoom in significantly, or crop out some parts, what than? There is a surprising factor what can be revealed even with this minimal information.
In trying to implement the factor of hiding the subject’s identity, at least occasionally - all of a sudden, things start to look totally different. The images are teasers. These Photos hint at stories, fragments of stories, ideas and notions. The images are meant as gestures designed to arouse the curiosity of the viewer to get to the simple question: What’s going on here?
When you look at pictures from other photographers you probably will notice that most portraits are taken with the camera at eye level of the subject. This is common sense and quite a good practice – but think about changing the angle that you shoot from completely. This can can give your portrait a WOW factor.At least trying something different can be fun and worthwhile.
You can notice, that the direction of your subject’s eyes can impact an image immensly. Most portraits have the subject looking at the lens – something that can create a real sense of connection between a subject and those viewing the image. But you should try a couple of diferent things in this regard as well.
As there are a lot of ‘rules’ out concerning composition and alike you should know them. On the other hand I’ve always had a love hate relationship with them. In my opinion they are useful to know and employ but as well you should try to break them – as this can lead to eye catching results.
The Rule of thirds is one that can be effective to break – placing your subject either dead centre can sometimes create a powerful image – or even creativly place your subject right on the edge of a shot.
One other element of that you can introduce for your portraits is the way you light them. There are almost unlimited possibilities when it comes to using light in portraits. Side-lighting can create mood, backlighting and silhouetting your subject to hide their features can be as well very powerful.
As digital is cost efficient just get out of your comfort zone and start shooting in a hundred different ways. Some will work, some will be - at least - a new experience.
I tried some different approaches for the portraits I will showcase at an exhibition at the Cultural Center in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong the 7. and 8. July this month. Opening will be on 7.7.11 at 7.30 pm and the Exhibition will close the 8.7.11 at 8 pm. If you have time - please come and give me your critic as to enhance my own views.
Hope to see you there!!