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Creative Ideas for Portrait Photography

Updated on September 11, 2013

If you take interest in photographing people, portrait photography is for you. Portraits can be taken in multiple ways, such as blurring the background by adding shallow depth of field, or taking portraits with interesting backgrounds. You can also try minimalist portraits or silhouette portraits. If you think, a portrait is a frontal shot with the subject in medium close up and much of the background removed, you need to change your view on portrait photography and think outside the box. Many photography critics will tell you, old ways of taking portraits show lack of creativity.

If the subject in your photo does not have interesting background, your portrait photography often fails.
If the subject in your photo does not have interesting background, your portrait photography often fails. | Source

Think About the Background

Background is as important as the foreground. If the subject in your photo does not have interesting background, your portrait photography often fails. Positioning the subject in the right background gives creative touch to your portrait photography by making the subject come alive. Background also gives context to the subject and tells more about the subject. You can blend the subject with the background or create contrast.

You can capture the subject in the entire frame or position him/her against interesting background.
You can capture the subject in the entire frame or position him/her against interesting background. | Source

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Framing and Positioning the Subject

If you want to your portraits to come alive, you have to be careful about framing and positioning the subject. You can capture the subject in the entire frame or position him/her against interesting background.

If you are shooting in a studio instead of location, you have to be careful about the props and the background color.

 Take photos in different angles and perspective.
Take photos in different angles and perspective. | Source

Perspective and Angle

Camera angle is very important in portrait photography. You can take a profile photo (side view) and it still can be a portrait. Take photos in different perspective.

Black and white photographs also have their own flavors.
Black and white photographs also have their own flavors. | Source

Black and White Portraits

Colors give details to your photography. However, black and white photographs also have their own flavors. You can create black and white photos in two ways.

  • By setting your camera in the appropriate mode
  • By editing your color photos in photo editing software such as Photoshop or GIMP

Most of the photographers choose the second option because you can have two different versions of the same photo. If you are converting your color photos into black and white in photo editing software, remember to play with hue and saturating.

You can express your creativity by adding tints to your portraits.
You can express your creativity by adding tints to your portraits. | Source

Add Tints to Your Portraits

Tints give interesting twist to your portraits. You can add tints to your portraits by playing with Scene Mode, White Balance and Color Effects in your camera setting. Alternatively, you can also apply tints to your photos in image manipulation programs such as Photoshop.

If you want to take silhouette portraits, bright light source must be behind the subject.
If you want to take silhouette portraits, bright light source must be behind the subject. | Source

Try Silhouette Portrait Photography

You can express your creativity in portrait photography by taking silhouette portraits. You don’t always have to capture the facial expression of the subject, even the body outlines will get you a great shot. If you want to take silhouette portraits, bright light source must be behind the subject. Remember, you have to face the light source.

Morning and afternoon sunlight behind the subject will create great silhouette portraits. If you are shooting indoors, or in a studio, light the subject from behind. You can position the subject at the open door or windows or near lamps to take silhouettes.

Enliven your portraits by adding filters.
Enliven your portraits by adding filters. | Source

Add Filters to Your Portraits

Enliven your portraits by adding filters; professional photographers do this all the time. You can use photo filters during the shooting or while post processing.

Photo editing program has inbuilt Photo Filters option. If you are not satisfied with the filters in your program, you can also install third party plug-ins. Most of the photo editing programs accepts third party plug-ins.If you enjoy portrait photography as well as Photoshopping, you should definitely install third party plug-ins on your program.

Third Party Photoshop Filters

Nik Software Color Efex Pro

Nik Software Color Efex Pro comes with numerous inbuilt filters. There are different filter options for landscape photo, portraits, wedding photo, architecture photo, nature photo and travel photo. Nik Software Color Efex Pro is compatible with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom.

Perfect Photo Suite by OnOne Software

Perfect Photo Suite is a wonderful Photoshop filter for image correction. With this additional plug-in, you can correct many mistakes made by your digital camera. You can correct skin tones, depth of the field, exposure, sharpness, tint, noise, and remove red-eye. Perfectly Clear Photoshop Plug-in is compatible with Windows and Mac.

PictoColor iCorrect Portrait & EditLab Pro Plug-in

PictoColor iCorrect Portrait & EditLab Pro Plug-inPhotoshop plug-in is for the photographers who want to correct and balance image exposure and color, create HDR effects, and add various effects to the photos, recover lost details by adjusting highlight and shadow. You can save photo-processing time when you use this Photoshop plug-in.

Free Photoshop Filter

Virtual Photographer by optikVerve Labs is a free Photoshop filter as well as standalone program. You can freely download and install Virtual Photographer and use with Photoshop or use as a complete program.

© 2013 Vinaya Ghimire

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    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image
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      Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

      DDE

      Green Art

      Thanks for reading and taking time to leave wonderful feedback.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Landscape portraits are simply beautiful another great hub from you. Thanks for sharing such a helpful and informative hub

    • Green Art profile image

      Green Art 3 years ago

      So many great tips here! I try to be aware of what is in the background when taking portrait shots as you've suggested. I love black and white portrait photography for the clarity it brings out in subjects. No hiding behind makeup. Expressions no matter how subtle come through in black and white. Great hub, voted up and useful.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image
      Author

      Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

      @Snakeslane, thanks for stopping by to read and comment. I appreciate your support.

      @Amanda, thanks for sharing your idea on the topic.

    • snakeslane profile image

      snakeslane 3 years ago from Canada

      Very nice Vinaya, as usual, you are such an awesome talented guy, love your work!

    • amandajoyshapiro profile image

      amandajoyshapiro 3 years ago

      The odd angle portraits are most interesting because they show us a different side of the person than normally seen. We don't always look at someone straight ahead or if they have their face turned a different direction. Great ideas!

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image
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      Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

      Mckbirdbks

      Mike Robbers

      Thanks for always being around. Have a great weekend.

      Cheers

    • Mike Robbers profile image

      Mike Robbers 3 years ago from London

      Great, useful and quite interesting hub, Vinaya. Thank for all these nice suggestions.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 3 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      You present such a diverse range of information. This is very well done.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image
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      Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

      Rose

      Always Exploring

      thanks for sharing your opinion and appreciating my work.

      Have a great weekend.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I always learn from you Vinaya, Thank you for sharing your expertise..

    • rose-the planner profile image

      rose-the planner 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

      Excellent article Vinaya! Thank you for sharing your insight! (Voted Up). -Rose

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image
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      Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

      I would not have survived HP for two years with out your constant support. Thank you very much for being with me.

      Bill

      Jeannieinabottle

      B. Leekley

      Faith

      Tillsontitan

      Mhatter

      Rosemary

      Frank

      Chitrangada

      Flourish

      mikielike

      Suzie

      Have a great weekend.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 3 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Vinaya,

      Loved all your ideas and tips for being more creative with photography. I love taking photos and my mum took amazing ones, particularly of flowers which she would often paint from. i grew to have an equal interest in taking nice unusual photos and miss not having my camera due to it being damaged permanently. Thanks for another excellent article, you never disappoint!

      Voted up, useful, interesting, shared, pinned!

    • mikielikie profile image

      mikielikie 3 years ago from Texas

      Great hub.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      What a wonderful hub with terrific tips for those of us who aspire to be better photographers. Thank you for sharing your expertise. This is well written, well presented, and I like your examples. Voted up and more! Sharing.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      These are great suggestions for Portrait Photography and all your photos are good examples of creativity in photography.

      Cameras nowadays have so many advanced features to take wonderful photographs, provided a person has a creative mind such as yours.

      Very interesting and informative hub! Thanks for sharing! Voted up and pinned!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      Vin you are amazingly creative as your hubs prove voted useful

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 3 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      Voting Up, U, A &I

      You are very talented in this area and its good of you to share your tips and advice with those of us who are novices.

      Thank you

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 3 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. Many moons ago I was a photographer for Energetic Productions.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      Another great, useful, helpful and just darn good hub! As always this one is full of great ideas and suggestions. Another to be added to my Vinaya photo collection!

      Voted up, useful, awesome,and interesting. Oh, shared too.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Great tips here, Vinaya! I wish I had your knowledge of such, as I have been fighting just cropping a photo of my granddaughter and then I have a blurry one, which I guess I cannot do anything about : ) No matter what I do as far as cropping, then trying to add it to a hub, when the original photo is just fine, but wanted to crop a lot of the background out, and now the problems.

      You are a man of many talents. Excellent hub.

      Voted up ++++ and sharing

      Blessings, Faith Reapr

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 3 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Up, Useful, and Interesting. You are a man of many talents. Thanks for the photography tips.

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 3 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      This is excellent advice. You always take such beautiful photos. Anyone interested in photography will benefit from taking your advice. Voted up and shared!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      What great pictures. You obviously know your stuff my friend. I wish I had a good camera so I could play with your suggestions. Wonderful work, Vinaya!

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