Portrait Photography Mistakes To Avoid
Wide-angle lenses used close up tend to distort the face. Stay away from using your wide-angle lens like this if you don’t want your model to have a larger nose and smaller eyes. Generally this is not the look that most people want. The reason behind the facial distortion is that you need to get very close to your model with a wide-angle lens, to have a tight enough crop for a headshot (head and shoulders). So the problem here is not so much the lens you use but how close you are to the model. People often refer to lenses that are around 80mm to 105mm as portrait lenses. Whilst these are great lenses to use for portraits the main thing you need to do to get a flattering headshot, is to get further away from your model. Using lenses with a longer focal length (80mm and upwards) will help you to get a tighter crop of your model whilst keeping you at some distance away from them. The added benefit of the longer focal length lenses is that depth of field is reduced so backgrounds will be more blurred.
Awkward Or Inappropriate Backgrounds
Always take into account the background when taking your photos. Does your subject have a tree or lamppost sticking out of their head? Your choice of background is very important. You want to make sure that the background is not the subject of your photo. Moving a few steps the other way or choosing a different location can make a huge difference to how successful your photos are.
Huge Hands And Arms
Whilst the men you photograph may like their arms looking bigger, women generally won’t. In photography whatever is closet to your camera lens will look bigger. Your model already has the job of posing for you, so it is your job to get the best photo of them. For more attractive portraits of women make sure that their hands and arms are not further out in front than their face. This will keep things in proportion. Avoid having the arms tucked into the body as this makes arms look larger. Ask your model to keep their arms away from their body but not in front of the body.
These are general rules to follow for better headshots but, that does not mean that you have to follow them. Rules are there to be broken so bear these in mind but always remember to experiment!
Enjoy your creativity!
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