Classic Portrait Ideas: how to take pictures of people from all walks of life

Classic Portrait Ideas: how to take pictures of people from all walks of life

Classic Portrait Ideas for Older Subjects

Classic Portrait Ideas for Older Subjects

True beauty comes from within, as we all know. Unfortunately, the camera doesn’t always see it that way.

We see people as living, animated three-dimensional beings, but the camera simply records a flat, motionless image. So here are some essential tips for shooting that special person in your life.

If you or your subject are worried about wrinkles, for example, then the softer the light the better. Frontal lighting or very soft three-quarter lighting will work best, but strong sidelighting is a definite no-no.

If there’s a plain white wall anywhere near, lean your subject next to it – it will reflect a broad, soft spread of light.

The light colour can make a difference too. Blue-tinged lighting (overcast days, north-facing windows, open shade) can exaggerate blemishes, while warm-toned lighting helps disguise them.

For big noses, try shooting slightly downwards and with soft light so that the outline of the nose blends into the tones of the face.

Make sure your subject’s face isn’t turned too far or their nose will be thrown into profile.

If your subject is bald, avoid a high camera angle because this will just emphasise it, while if your subject still has some hair but it’s receding, don’t shoot from a low angle because it will disappear completely beyond the curve of the forehead.

Saggy necks can be disguised by getting your subject to lean towards the camera, perhaps resting their chin on one hand. This stretches out the neck nicely.

In fact, most experienced portrait photographers will be able to list a thousand and one dos and don’ts for successful pictures, but the main thing is to experiment and see for yourself.

You need to develop a critical eye that sees the two-dimensional image you’ve captured, not the person in front of the camera.

To paraphrase a line from ‘The Draughtsman’s Contract’, go by what you see, not what you know.

It’s amazing what you can do with the right lighting and camera angle, but it may take you a few attempts to get there.

The diplomatic explanation could be that you’re trying to bring out their character rather than trying to disguising their faults.

One final key tip: try not to frown when you look at the results on your LCD screen. Your subject will assume you’re not happy with the way they look, rather than the photo itself!

PAGE 1: Classic Portrait Ideas for Individuals
PAGE 2: Classic Portrait Ideas for Men and Women
PAGE 3: Lighting ideas for portraits of men
PAGE 4: Classic Portrait Ideas for Older Subjects
PAGE 5: Classic Portrait Ideas for Couples
PAGE 6: Ideas for Official Portraits

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