Rules For Portrait Photography


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lionel319

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Feb 6, 2007
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lionel.the-fanatic.com
#1
The rules for capturing portraiture seems so wide that i sometimes get myself confused and so overwhelmed, just in the split of the second to think whether where should i cut of a person's limb, where should i place their eyes, should i include any part of their body to make the picture look more comfortable, etc......, only to let the magical moment fly away.

I would really appreciate if anyone could please teach me about the basic rules which is good to be followed in order to taking great portrait photos.

Thanks in advance
 

eow

Senior Member
Jun 22, 2004
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#3
ask deadpoet....
 

student

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Jul 26, 2004
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#10
teach me about the basic rules which is good to be followed in order to taking great portrait photos.
There are many, many "rules" in photography. And there is no lack of such "rules" in portrait photography, especially with regards to "portrait" photography in CS.

It would help if you can clarify what you meant by "great portrait photos".

Some had mentioned that "you can't do without them (make-up artists) if you're into portraiture, unless you want ghostly/ghastly images". And if you read along the portrait subforum, this appears to be one of the "rules" that you cannot violate - "you can't do without them".

But take a look at this portrait, taken by Steve McCurry



Would you call this a great portrait? But I do not think a make-up artist made the subject to look this way!

So how? I can only surmise that those who advocate that MUAs are absolutely necessary have different kinds of portraiture in mind. Whether what they have in mind are "great" or not I have absolutely no idea.
 

Nov 4, 2006
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#12
agree with student on the make up artist part.

but for the sake of discussions, everyone please look at this pictures now, tell me how many rules have you spotted, to make this portraits successful?
didn't someone once said "rules are meant to be broken"?
 

snowspeeder

Senior Member
Feb 16, 2004
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#13
You can get all the 'rules' correct, technically. But what good is a picture if it fails to engage the senses of the viewer in general?
 

#14
I can say for portraits, you must ensure that all the elements that you want to show are in the frame, the elements that you want to show blend seamlessly, eyes are in focus, and most important of all, it must be able to engage some feeling in the viewer; will it tell a story or produce emotion? If it dosen't say something emotionally, then the elements must be perfect to at least engage people into saying "wah, so sharp."
 

catchlights

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Sep 27, 2004
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#15
When the portrait works, you can look at it again, then you will know how many rules being applied, whether is intentional or unintentional.

since you guys don't believe in that, than forget what I suggest.
 

Johnston

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Jul 22, 2006
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#16
but for the sake of discussions, everyone please look at this pictures now, tell me how many rules have you spotted, to make this portraits successful?
first and foremost, i am a newbie in portraits. but the pic by Steve McCurry do have a drawing power to me. it makes me what to stare at her eyes, asking myself why she looks so angry, at the same time feeling scare within. I guess a good portraits is probably one that will make you want to take a second look and think. :think:
 

Aug 9, 2006
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#18
psssst..... i overhead someone said this about portraiture some time back "Must have beautiful face, else the portrait sure not nice!"


The rules for capturing portraiture seems so wide that i sometimes get myself confused and so overwhelmed, just in the split of the second to think whether where should i cut of a person's limb, where should i place their eyes, should i include any part of their body to make the picture look more comfortable, etc......, only to let the magical moment fly away.

I would really appreciate if anyone could please teach me about the basic rules which is good to be followed in order to taking great portrait photos.

Thanks in advance
 

westwest1

Deregistered
Feb 25, 2006
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@ AMK
#20
But take a look at this portrait, taken by Steve McCurry

A very famous Portrait indeed...

He went back to look for this afgan gal...

I simple amaze at this photo when I first saw it on NGC...:thumbsup:

Not sure whether I can get shots like this in my lifetime...
 

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