A lot of times, portrait photographers get hung up on taking beautiful headshots and full body poses. They completely forget to capture some of the finer details too.
Of course, portrait photography should include images of the subject’s face—that’s pretty important! But, there’s nothing keeping you from zooming in and taking a few more tightly framed shots that show the subject in a different way.
We see wedding photographers do this often. I’m sure you’ve seen a close-up shot of a bride wearing her shiny new wedding ring. Those kinds of detail shots help tell the story of who your subject is. They can help tie together a collection or series of photos. Not to mention, if you’re in the business of selling your photography, can make great upselling opportunities for your clients.
Let’s take a look at a few examples of how portrait photographers can get capture some great detail shots…
Zoom in close to your subject and capture the smaller details and facial characteristics. For example, if your subject has freckles, show them off! Zoom in close and compose your image so the freckles are out there loud and proud. Wrinkled and weathered skin can also make for great detail shots as they human eye is drawn to such textures.
I love flipping through a photo album and coming across an amazing photo with a totally unexpected composition. This can be easier said than done, however. It’s difficult capturing a cohesive set of images when you’re taking a bunch of big risks when it comes to composition. But it’s definitely worth at least trying to master.
A great way to take those risks is with your detail shots. Have your subjects try out some different poses and experiment with your camera angle until you get something interesting. If you happen to have some interesting lighting patterns from, say, window light, try to incorporate those into the frame for added effect!
Telling A Story
One of the most important things to keep in mind when shooting portraits is you are ultimately trying to capture the story of who the subject is as a person. Obviously, this is really hard to do in a single photo. A great way to help tell the story of who a person is, is by capturing detail shots of them doing things they enjoy.
Look at the photo below as one example. This photo could have been taken while doing a portrait shoot in the middle of a park. Perhaps the trees were blossoming and the subject swept some up into her hand to enjoy them. Opportunities like these are what you need to be aware of as a portrait photographer. And remember, don’t be afraid to suggest your subject try something similar–in my experience a little client direction is always appreciated.
For The Pros
I mentioned earlier in this article, capturing detail shots is an ideal opportunity for professional photographers. Even if you’re just preparing for your first official paid photoshoot, you should really consider using some of the tips we covered in this article. Not only is it possible to sell prints of these detail shots, but they are also pretty much essential parts of photo albums and books. Something to keep in mind!
It’s important you to get started off on the right foot and build good habits from the beginning of your photography journey.