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If you want to flatter your subject, you'll probably want to minimize their nose. Stand about twelve feet from your subject, so that their nose isn't significantly closer to you than rest of face. However, at such a large distance from camera, if you want to fill frame with just your subject's face, then you need a high magnification lens. Typical "portrait" lenses are therefore between 90 and 135 millimeters long when you are using a 35mm camera.
Whilst a lot of portrait photography is completed inside a studio, prospect of natural light can be very flattering. This can be achieved inside by positioning your subject in front of a window. Environmental portraiture presents different challenges. These portraits are best enlarges, otherwise subjects face gets lost in background. Slow film and use of a tripod; help to keep your images sharp. There are a number of professional photographers who argue that a portrait is not shown to it’s best advantage when it is clinically sharp and they use a filter, but with modern digital cameras, you can make an adjustment in Photoshop at a later time. However if you are using a digital camera you will achieve best results with a camera with a true single reflex lens.
Natural light or umbrella lighting can achieve soft lighting; both of these reduce shadows and show face in a “better more attractive light”. However there is another type of portrait photography, which is high impact photography. This is a very dramatic type of portrait photography, which uses very strong light with a high contrast of tonal color. This technique is more effective indoors, as it is achieved by controlling light, and their is too much light to control out of doors. Position your subject at different angles to light, from one side, or from underneath. This lengthens shadows, rather than muting them, and gives a distinctly dramatic effect. You can achieve this in varying degrees, but if light source is placed at 90 degrees to face, it will throw whole of opposite side of face in shadow. If you are using a digital camera you can also manipulate contrast later to achieve a more dramatic effect.
You can also improve your photographs if you include some motion shots, as well as traditional stills. Just make sure that you use correct film speeds.
Publisher & author: Roy Barker. Roy is the author of the popular ebook, Income from Photography - a downloadable ebook which is a guide on how to start up and market a Profitable Photography business. It can be viewed at http://www.profitable-photography.com. Other related and reviewed services & research sources can be found at http://www.profitable-photography.com/html/117/