South Africa's Photography Portal
Advertise on this site, click here
Home | Books | Camera shop | Photographers | Models | Photography Courses | Stock photos | Photography Clubs |
Equipment | Imaging | Tips | Events | Photography Blog | Contact Us | Login
Learn how to take better pictures - for beginners - click here
Back to tip main page

Portraits

 
Help! I have to take a photo of my boss for the company newsletter. I use my camera to take pictures when I travel and candid photos of my kids. I'm not ready for a pro portrait session.

Relax. Most bosses are just big kids anyway. However real kids often like having their picture taken. Since most adults are self-conscious, chances are your boss probably doesn't like having her or his picture taken. That means that step number one is to put your boss at ease. Explain that you'll only need a few moments of her time.

We suggest you have your boss stand, or else lean back and rest against a desk or table. Most chairs make people slouch. Professionals use something called a posing stool, but since you don't have one, it's safer to keep your boss upright.
Most people look slimmer and more relaxed if one shoulder is turned away from the camera and the other one toward the camera. Remember that the three most expressive aspects of any person are the eyes, the mouth and the hands. 

For a choice of expression in the eyes, take some photos with your subject looking directly into the lens, and some with the subject looking up and over your shoulder.

For executives, either a slight smile or a mildly serious expression is appropriate. In today's more relaxed business climate, smiling is often preferred.

Give your subject something to do with his hands even if the hands don't show in the photo. This will keep your subject's shoulders relaxed and natural-looking as well. It doesn't matter what the subject holds, but it might be related to the job or the person. If the subject wears glasses some of the time, perhaps she can hold her glasses. An executive can hold a report or a book.

Take some pictures using flash and some without. Try to position the camera so that it is at eye level or slightly below the subject's eyes. This will give an authoritative look to the subject, because the camera is subtly looking up at the boss.

Work quickly and take lots of photos from several angles. Watch out for what's right behind your boss's head. Avoid anything that is distracting.

The tips we've offered are a crash course in portraiture, and we could go on and on, but it's probably better for you to handle the job with just these tips in mind. If you follow them, you'll get results that will be just fine.

Back to main page