7 Elements That Create a Standout Portrait Photograph

Portrait photography is all about capturing the unique characteristics of people instead of creating a technically seamless composition. You have to know what makes the subject unique and capture that in the photo. Excellent portrait photography will convey the story of the person featured.

Creating a standout portrait photograph requires a considerable amount of time, patience, and skill. It would be best to study the scene, check the technical details, and position the camera correctly before taking the photo. Also, there are different elements you must focus on and put together to yield a remarkable image.

A reputable portrait photographer in Dubai shares these seven essential elements of portrait photography and how you can work on them to create stunning portraits.

1. Location

The photo session’s location will have a massive impact on your final output.  Shooting at a specific time of the day in a private beach in Abu Dhabi, for instance, or inside an elaborately arranged photography studio, will add different meanings and power to the image.

Keep in mind that an indoor photoshoot will have a different setup and needs compared to an outdoor shoot. Traveling outside of the area may require carrying added equipment, which incurs additional time and costs in transporting these. Local weather conditions should also be considered when opting for an outdoor setting, unlike indoor photoshoots that can push through whatever the weather is like.

2. Time of Day

The time of day of your shoot will depend on your subject’s attire, comfort level, and your expertise in dealing with the situations.

Most shoots are done in the golden hours to avoid the excessive heat of the sun. Before sunset or after sunrise are great options because of the soothing temperature and absence of hard shadows.

But if there is a need to shoot when the sun is too hot, large diffusers can be used. You can have these tailor-made based on your specifications and requirements.

3. Light

Whether you shoot indoors or outdoors, the light is a vital element. It helps create a specific mood and brings focus to important elements within the frame. Also, it creates depth and highlights the image’s texture by combining shadows and highlights.

While there are tools today that you can use to manipulate the image taken, the sun remains the best light source. The most stunning portrait photos are taken in natural light with several reflectors and diffusers. Get creative when using these devices to produce the best possible image.

If natural light is not enough or possible, you can use continuous lighting, either  fluorescent or tungsten, strobe lighting or external flashes. The light’s direction is also a crucial factor. You may need to bounce the light from a whiteboard or ceiling to create a better image.

4. Color

The color will not just set the mood of the photo, but also play a crucial role in moving the viewer emotionally. You can play with colors to make the picture feel exciting, gloomy, mysterious, or sad. Arousing the viewer’s emotion is essential in producing sharp photographs, and the use of colors is a crucial tool to do this.

For instance, the blue shade of the sky provokes a tranquil, peaceful feeling while vibrant hues like yellow, orange, and red can convey cheerful stories. You must be keen about the unique colors in your photoshoot’s location and use them to boost the composition in your final output.

5. Composition

Composition refers to how you put together all the objects in your frame to emphasize the parts you want to highlight and make them prominent. It is often subjective, but excellent composition can transform an ordinary scene into an attention-grabbing photograph. Keep an eye out for lines, shapes, patterns, textures, colors, curves, and negative space, and use each to come up with brilliant photos.

Although there are many guidelines, principles, and rules for producing a well-composed image, knowing what works best for the current situation matters most. Start by knowing what needs to be in the image, as this will help you convey the story you want to tell. Also, this will reduce the clutter and simplify your composition into something powerful.

6. Moment

A powerful moment is about more than just emphasizing the subject. It is about ensuring that all parts of the picture interact with one another in the way the viewer may think. What you chose to express to the viewers will tell a lot about you and your subject. People’s lives are made up of lots of moments – the one you want to capture is the only story you’ll give to your viewers.

Whenever you capture a portrait, try to include as many elements as possible to create a stronger moment – but don’t overcrowd.

7. Distance to the Subject

Your distance to your subject will affect the photo’s overall impact. This determines the focal length you must shoot to put all important parts into the final output.

The distance will depend on what you want to accomplish. Some images are best shot closer to the subject, while others may require a further distance from your subject. Think carefully about how your range will make the final output look and feel for your viewers.

Portrait photography is a challenging art form. Yielding an image that appears natural and expresses the subject’s personality is a skill that entails patience and practice. By knowing and understanding how to put together these seven essential elements, you can develop an engaging portrait that conveys your subject’s unique features.