What Makes a Photograph a Portrait – Composition

May 3, 2013
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What part does COMPOSITION play in creating Portraits?

Over the articles I’ve given definitions of PHOTOGRAPHY and PORTRAITS, discussed ARTISTIC INTENT, Planning for a Portrait, and LIGHTING and CAMERA ANGLES. In COMPOSING a Portrait you should look at the Intent and also the Mood that is to become portrayed.

This issue could possibly be looking directly into the camera… or otherwise, based on the Intent…

When the Portrait is to be of one individual, the COMPOSITION changes than for a Portrait of an couple… or for a bunch or Family. Again, the Facial Expression, and quite often one’s body Language or Pose are integral, and so the function of all the other elements inside the Composition is always to support or influence the understanding of the subject’s Personality or Mood.

If the Portrait is usually to be associated with an individual inside a room, the issue becomes, “Is there something that would enhance the story of this Portrait that might be included like a prop?” If you do, then go for it include it… Or else, then don’t add anything.

However, space itself – or the environment – can be quite a compositional element! In numerous, if not most all cases, in a individual portrait, the topic will fill the frame, as well as over fill the frame such as when the top of your head is cropped to emphasize your eye area and facial expression.

If your individual is outdoors, then the environment becomes either yet another “personality” inside the composition, or just experience. If the environment is usually to be this can be the background, however , the subject will fill the frame, as well as the background will probably be given away of focus.

If conversely the surroundings will likely be employed in the composition just as one identifying element, the subject could possibly be placed to a single side of the frame so that you can allow the environment to bring about the sense of the portrait.

If the portrait is of a group, such as a family, then as the facial expressions remain of top importance, body language or pose becomes vital because currently the portrait should show the relationships within the family or group.

For that reason, I have faith that interpretive portraits are more expressive. That is when the family is engaged in a pursuit together, rather than looking straight into the camera.

However, precisely the same rules apply as far as the composition. If the portrait has produced in a space or studio, then unless a prop include to the “story” with the portrait, don’t include any. If the portrait is being manufactured in the planet, it must be included just as one additional “personality” to improve the entire a sense the portrait, or it should be minimized and trashed of focus, and the people fill the frame.

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