Capturing the Face


This kind of photography, by virtue of effective poses, shades, backdrop and lighting captures the personality of a person or a group of people; a portrait image needs to be aesthetic as they can be employed in various purposes ranging from personal website displaying to lobby of businesses.

Key lighting features used in portrait photography are:

  • Three point lighting – The plan utilizes three lights to completely model lights for bringing out details of the features of the subject, the plan lights used in this type of lighting are Key Light, Fill in Light and Back Light.
  • Butterfly lighting – It has two lights, the former being the key light which is placed right in front of the subject  above the camera and the second one being the rim light.
  • Accessory lights – These enhance the background illumination and add to the highlights of the basic lighting.
  • Background lights – Although it is not a part of the basic portrait photography, it adds radiance and increases the background definition whereby; a halo effect is created behind the illumination which gives a detailed picture of the backdrop.
  • Lighting equipments – Since images in modern photography are captured by virtue of flashes, subject and background often get diffused, and however, it is significant to control the spillage of light to other areas of the subject within the known vicinity.

There are primarily four approaches to photographic portraiture namely, constructionist, environmental, candid and creative approach where each of them has been used over time for various reasons irrespective of them being artistic, practical or cultural. Lenses used are technically fast depending on artistic purposes; also in terms of speed, fast lenses are usually preferred as they enable a shallow depth of field which allows you to differentiate the subject from the background and limit of focus. Most frequently prime lens will be used because the zoom lens is not essential for posed shots and they establish enormously high distortion although zoom lenses can be used specifically in candid shots and aesthetic framings.

Necessities of portrait photography:

  • Exposure compensation – During capturing images, metering system plays a vital role as it can struggle when a frame is overpowered by immense darkness or illumination.
  • Aperture advice – While shooting portraits, it is recommendable to set your aperture wide in order to achieve a shallow depth of field thereby, making the background nicely blurred.
  • Setting shutter speed – Ensure that the shutter speed of your camera is relatively higher than the focal length, the benefit being that you can see that the effect from the end of a viewer’s eyes.
  • Increasing the ISO – To avoid blurring in motion, you require using a fast shutter speed in order to produce sharp shots.
  • Choice of lens – Wider angular lens is required for shooting portraits and must be taken from a lower angle which will make the subject taller.

Portraits come with several illusions and distortions which can trick our eyes, hence to add more drama, do try tilting your camera to a particular angle!