How to Take Stunning Portrait Photography?

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There are portraits that capture the subject successfully, the type of portrait photography that fits the brief but is somehow lacking, and then there are portrait photos that have that special wow factor; the type of photographs that people simply can’t stop looking at. If you want to achieve the second type, then read on. Here, we look at how you can take portrait photographs that are absolutely stunning. 


Many portrait photographs are taken from the same angle, with the camera situated roughly at eye level with the subject. This makes for a safe photograph. If you want to offer a little more, then try altering the angle that you shoot from. Getting down low and shooting upwards or getting up high and shooting down towards your subject can completely change the perspective and create some real interest in your photograph.

Eye contact

Portrait photography subjects do not need to look directly at the camera. In fact, this is something that many people find particularly difficult to do so consider the direction that their eyes should be looking. The direction of a subject’s eyes can have a really big impact on a photograph. The majority of really good portraits, in fact, feature the subject looking down the lens. This is a technique that can help to forge a real connection between the audience and the subject.

Looking off camera, focusing attention on a point beyond the photographer can also alter the way in which the photograph is seen. It offers a little mystery and can often result in the viewer of the photograph being rather intrigued. If you want to try this, then be careful because if your subject is looking out of the frame then there is a good chance this is where the viewer will also be drawn to look as well. 

You could also consider having your subject look at something that is in the frame. This might be an object or even another person. This can create a second point of interest within the frame and can ultimately offer a story within your picture – something that can make a good photo great.

The rules of composition

When it comes to composition there are lots of rules out there. They are all useful to understand and know when to use but sometimes rules are made to be broken and this may well be one of those occasions. When you break the rules on purpose the results can be amazing. 

The rule of thirds is one that you could certainly consider breaking. When you are photographing a person, placing them directly in the centre of your frame can, in fact, create an image that is powerful. Placing the subject at the edge of your shot, either side, will offer you something that is a lot more interesting. 

One rule that is specific to portrait photography is the idea of giving your subject room to look into, and this can be a really good idea, but it is also a rule that you can break.


Lighting can play a powerful role in any type of photography. When you play with the lighting in portrait photography you can use it to cast light on your subject or shadow. Either of these can help you to portray a mood within the photo, whether you are looking for something sunny and bright or something moody and mysterious. Playing with the angle of the light in order to alter the shadows can create a really dramatic photograph that will draw your audience in.

Sharing your Portrait Photography 

When you feel you have mastered the art of portrait photography or wish to get some feedback from fellow photographers, why not join a photo sharing site? These are great places on the web to share your creations, receive comments from viewers and potentially even make some money too! They are ideal for new photographers to dip their toes in the water of freelance photography. 

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