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Composition Digital Field Guide by Alan Hess

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Chapter 9. Portrait Photography

The basic goal of portrait photography is to capture the likeness of the person being photographed in the most flattering way. To get a great portrait of someone, a piece of their personality needs to come through. It is up to you as the photographer to get the subject to pose in the best way and to make sure that you understand the basic concepts of portrait photography.

This chapter covers the importance of focusing on the eyes and where in the frame to place the eyes, choosing the best focal length for portraits, filling the frame, and framing the subject. It also covers shooting indoors and outdoors, working with groups and with children, and common posing and troubleshooting tips.

Portrait Photography

You can take portraits on location as well as in a studio setting. This was shot on a local beach around sunset, which produced a great golden, natural light. Taken at ISO 200, f/5, and 1/30 second.

Composition Considerations

There are many different types of portraits and each has its own set of compositional challenges. It makes a difference if you are photographing a corporate executive in a studio or a family outdoors, a candid shot of a child playing or the tender embrace of a newly engaged couple. With that said, there are a few things that are key for all portraits.

Focus on the eyes

It has been said that the eyes are the window to the soul. Now, I can't speak to that, ...

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