Portrait Photography Tutorial For Beginners | Light & Composition Straight From The Camera | POV

Hello people! Paul Tarabozzo here!

Today I want to introduce you to a new series of videos where I will be showing my process of shooting various photos with an explanation, sharing my tips. Having over 10 years of full-time professional photography I believe that my tips and tricks will be useful to any photographer.

I chose several outdoor locations starting with this road in the middle of the field with electric towers. When you have any kind of repetitive objects it means that you can use them for your photography and they will create a great perspective. Every time when I work with a commercial client or a friend the first thing I start with is small talk to explain what exactly I’m going to do and what my expectations are. It helps people that I work with to relax and make the process of shooting less stressful for them.

When I have a certain spot where I’m planning to shoot I always do a variety of shots – close-ups, mediums, and wides.

As you see here I positioned the model in a lower right corner to emphasize the size of the pillar and compare it to Kate’s height, giving the photo the feeling of melancholy. Also, the light is going from the sun giving Kate’s hair a nice backlight and reflecting from the concrete on the floor to her face acting as a reflector to fill the shadows just a little so we can see her face. Her eyes are looking left down which helps to balance a composition.

The next shot is a close-up portrait. Same lighting – direct sunlight from the back camera left creates a nice volume on her hair giving this photo the feeling of hope. When I shoot such portraits I fill the whole frame with a face and hair to avoid any distractions. I would recommend using lenses longer than 50mm to minimize the distortion of the face. Eyes should be in the middle between the center of the photo and the top edge. This puts eyes just on the right spot by the golden ratio. In short, it means that your portrait will be balanced and look organic.

The next photo that I did on this location was a wide money shot. My goal was to show the epicness of this location and the idea was that Kate’s walking away from the camera with mountains in front of her. At first, I stood on my knee to shoot from the low position but it didn’t give me enough perspective so I laid down on the ground to get the most perspective I could so the road starts just from the lower edge of the frame. It makes a huge difference in the feeling that we get from this photo. Also, the light from the opposite side of the camera helps to separate the model from the background. The wider the lens the more perspective you get. 

The next location that I chose for this shoot was a lakeshore full of stones. The direction of the sun was exactly the opposite – I had a light shining on the water. For the first shot, I decided to light up the face, making it brighter than the background. When you have direct hard light and don’t want to have ugly shadows on the face one of the options is to ask your model to look directly towards the source of light. As you see it allowed the face to pop out still maintaining a good amount of light in the background. For this shot, I used negative space to emphasize that the model is by herself leaving lots of empty space on the left side of the frame asking to look away to the right. This way the composition of the photo is balanced and isn’t falling down on any of the sides. Also, it gives an option to add some extra objects in the background as I did here with a moon. 

The next shot is a medium one, and as I told you before it is good to remember to eliminate any unnecessary objects from the frame so they don’t distract unless they add some extra meaning. That’s why I filled my frame with stones looking for a proper spot for the model’s face positioning it in between the center and top edge of the frame.

That’s it for today. Hope you found this video useful for you.

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See you in the next videos!