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Portrait Photography Tips - How to find a Subject’s Good Side

Do people look the same when photographed from all angles? Is it true that features of most people (including facial features) are not symmetrical? How do I know from which angle to shoot people from? …. These are some of the questions beginners in portraiture often ask.

portrait photography tips
Photo By Sean Molin

First of all no human being is perfect, the majority lack perfect symmetry. Except some professional models with whom you would not be able to tell the difference, everyone has a good side and an even slightly better side; it’s just a matter of severity of the problem from one individual to another. Let us discuss some tips that will help you choose the best angle from which to shoot your subject.

The key to finding a person’s good side is to study his / her face well. Observe closely, also when a person smiles or when expressions change the facial features appear different so ask the model to simply cycle through a series of looks and expressions and study the changes. The side which looks best should be the one that is placed nearer to the light and closer to the camera. Observe the following.

Are the subject’s eyes symmetrical or is one eye larger or rounder than the other, if so then the side with the larger / rounder eye is your subject’s good side.

Observe the person smiling is one side of the mouth curling up more than the other if so then that’s your subject’s good side.

After eyes and lips the third most important thing to consider is your subject’s hair. Does the models hair style have a strong part? If so then pose your model so as to turn the part away from the camera thus more coifs and less scalp will be visible in your frame. Also if the hair covers more of the models ear on one side rather than the other then it is your subject’s good side.

Remember these tips are valid when photographing all people and not just models, in fact ordinary people tend to have more dis-symmetrical features and paying attention to these tips will give more results rather than when photographing professional models who might only have slight variations.

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