Going beyond the ID shot.

When you think of portrait photography, the standard head and shoulders shot with a slightly tilted chin probably comes to mind. While there is a place for more formal portraits, adding a little creative flair can change up your images can yield amazing results. It’s really about knowing the rules of photography, and portraiture, in general. Some reading this may say “photography is an art form, there are no rules!” And that’s both true, and untrue. You have to know rules, or standards, in order to break them effectively. The picture in this post is an example of purposeful rule-breaking for dramatic effect. Here are my anti-rules:

Forget Eye-Level
There’s a rule that says a portrait always needs to be taken at eye-level. I’ll move around, shooting from above or below eye-level to give my portrait image more drama. It all depends on the story I’m telling.

Lose the Eye Contact
While a subject making direct eye contact with the camera does create a connection with the person viewing the photo, there are other options such as having the subject focus on something unseen to bring an element of mystery and intrigue to the shot. What is she thinking about? What is she looking at? You want to ask her, and there’s the connection! It’s initiated from you, instead of the subject.

Give Rembrandt a Rest
If you run a search using the keyword “portrait” you’re sure to get image after image showing examples of Rembrandt lighting. I promise you, the first image you’ll see has that signature triangle-shaped light on one cheek. This is because it’s a great look! But as you know, greatness can be overdone—it can become boring. I use different lighting patterns to tell different stories. In fact, I’ve created a “Reversed Rembrandt” shadow pattern that I haven’t seen anywhere else.

If you want to go beyond the typical ID shot, we need to talk. I want to create epic portraits featuring you!


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