Fun Portrait Photography Ideas
Great portraits are magical because they give the photographer a chance to tell the viewer the story of the subject. Portrait photography also happens to be one of the most popular types of images requested of photographers. Since you’ll be shooting so many portrait sessions, it’s easy to get burned out on the genre if you’re not careful. Here are nine fun portrait photography ideas for sessions that can help keep your images fresh and the genre enjoyable.
Fill the frame
Zooming in on your subject’s face creates a wonderfully intense connection between your subject and the viewer. Fill as much of your frame as you can with their face to allow your subject to capture the attention. Forget the rest of the body; this shot is all about focusing on the face. This can create a very emotional image so don’t use it in every shot you take.
Create movement in the background
By using a tripod, a long shutter speed, and asking your subject to hold as still as possible in front of a moving object, you can create a sense of motion in the background. This brings interest to the portrait while still drawing focus to your subject. Don’t forget to have your subject hold perfectly still. The background is the only part of your image that you want to be blurred.
Play With Eye Contact
The eyes are the windows to the soul. Ask your subject to stare into your lens. In many cases, that’s all the direction they need; your subject will interpret it how they choose. The resulting image will vary widely from subject to subject based on the soul that you’re looking inside of.
Embrace The Crazy
Sometimes the subject is just a liiiiiitle crazy and to communicate that, the photographer has to get a little crazy too. In this shot, we have some fun props and a crazy expression that radiates personality. Remember, it’s your job as the photographer to tell the story of the subject. You can’t force crazy if it’s not there. As your subject becomes more comfortable in front of your camera, the more personality will be revealed.
Ask your subject to bring a furry friend
If you’re like me, your pet is a huge part of your life. If your subject has a cat, dog, or other “easily-managed-pet,” ask them to bring it along to the photo shoot. Pets add another layer of personality and can help tell the story of your subject. Or, in this case, the cat’s subject.
No human subjects to shoot? Go four-legged!
Sometimes, you just can’t find someone to model for your photos. Schedules don’t work out, subjects get sick, or The Walking Dead is on AMC. Whatever the reason, a lack of a human subject is no excuse to avoid perfecting your portrait techniques. Find a cat, dog, or other willing animal and get shooting. Many of the same rules of portrait shooting apply to subjects of both the two and four-legged variety.
By using a wider focal length, you can create some interesting distortion in your portrait. Increasing the focal length creates a dramatic feel from the larger view angle and depth of field. However, don’t overuse this technique and beware the girlfriend, wife, or other lady-subject who might not appreciate the effects that this distortion can bring (enlarged parts of the face and body). It’s a great technique to use when capturing a fun or playful mood and highlight your subject’s personality.
Use post-processing to add effects
Creativity doesn’t end when the shoot is over. In addition to touching up blemishes and stray hairs, use your favorite image editing software to experiment with contrasts, hues, white balances, and other effects. Just be careful that you don’t over-edit your image. Your goal is to enhance and add effects, not completely change your portrait.
Create a sense of off-camera presence.
Portraits are all about the subject, and that should be the dominant focus. However, by posing your subject so they are focusing on something off-camera, you create a subtext of curiosity. Where is she looking? What is she thinking about? What has her attention? It’s a subtle yet effective method of creating interest within your portrait.
These are some of our favorite ways to have some fun with portrait photography. Let us know what fun things you like to do when shooting portraits; and get out there and have some fun!