No matter what type of photography you like, at one point or another, you’ll find yourself shooting a portrait. I know landscape photographers who swore they would never shoot a portrait in their career, and one week later they were shooting a portrait. Weddings, graduations, holidays or a day at the zoo all present great opportunities to photograph people.
Even professional portrait photographers sometimes struggle to create interesting portraits. We’ve all seen the cliché snapshots and boring group shots suffering from static, stiff poses. Creating compelling portraits takes a combination of relevant location, interesting light and good rapport with your subject.
I like to think outside the box for my portraits. What pose or unique location can I put my subject in to spice things up? What lighting will be interesting? No more 45º big softboxes on my subject—how about using hard-edged lights at sharp, flaring angles?
In the end, you need to accomplish your creative goals. This might be photographing a business executive at his desk, clean and simple. But shooting other portraits, you’ll have more flexibility to experiment. The next time you’re planning a shoot, try one of these ideas to add some new life to your portraits.