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Portrait Photography - Evaluating Your Subject's Face

Face is the most important element in any portrait. And so it demands quite a bit of analysing and processing before deciding on the final pose and expression. Each person’s face is unique and demands different treatment. Poses and expressions that suits one person may not suit another. So as a photographer you should be constantly analysing the facial features of your subject and working out ways to hide the imperfections and highlight the positive characteristics.

Portrait Photography
Photo By Sean Molin

Whenever you are out shooting a person, while you are conversing with the person examine his or her face from straight on, and from different angles; from both sides, also look out for expressions that best suit your subject. This is best done in a casual manner without making your subject self conscious. Certain things the answers to which you should have via your little analysis are listed below.

1. Decide on Portrait Length

First thing you should decide is about how much of the subject to include in the image. This should be based on the appearance of your subject and the purpose of the portrait. Depending on your analysis you could go for a full length portrait, a profile view, the three quarters view or the seven eights view,

Portrait Photography
Photo By Conor Keller

2. Are Your Subjects Eyes The Same Size?

It might sound strange to some of you, but it’s a fact that most people’s eyes are not identical in size. If this is the case in your subject then you could easily fix the problem by positioning your subject in such a way that the smaller eye is closer to the lens, so the perspective takes over and reduces the size of the larger eye (because it is farther from the lens) making both appear the same size.

Portrait Photography
Photo By Corie Howell

3. Shape of Your Subjects Face

Next important thing to consider is the shape of your subject’s face. The face’s shape and Character changes dramatically as you move around and to the side of your subject. Watch the cheekbones become more or less prominent from different angles. High and/or pronounced cheekbones are a flattering feature in both males and females. Similar is the case with subjects having double chin simply asking them to lift their chin up a bit could easily fix the issue.

Portrait Photography
Photo By Alireza Teimoury

4. Find Out Features You’ll Need to Hide and Highlight

Look for facial features in your subject that you’d wish to modify: a square jaw line may look softened when viewed from one angle; a round face may appear more oval-shaped and flattering from a different angle; a slim face may seem wider and healthier when viewed from head on, and so forth. While considering the facial features also factor in the kind of lighting set-up that you would employ for the particular shoot. Different lighting set-ups combined with different shooting angles gives you fairly good options to bring out the best from your subjects.

Portrait Photography
Photo By Hamed Masoumi

5. Determine The Best Angle to Shoot

Considering all aspects of your subject’s face in detail; determine the most pleasing angle from which to view/shoot the person. Also find out the expression which best modifies your chosen angle. A smile, a half-smile, no smile, head up, head down, etc.

Portrait Photography
Photo By Deana

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