As portrait photographers, we often get caught up in perfection. Our desire to take unforgettable portraits leads to creative slumps. Because of this, we don’t take as many photos as we’d like to.
This doesn’t have to be the case anymore. Whenever I want to have a shoot just for the sake of enjoying photography, I invest 30 minutes of my time in a photo shoot. Mini photo shoots of this sort can:
The point of this challenge is to entertain you, teach you valuable lessons about your own work, and lead you to impulsive discoveries that might take your work to the next level. Don’t let the time limit stress you out. Instead, treat it as a creative reward for your hard work.
Keep in mind that these photo shoots can be longer than half an hour. This is just how long it takes me to set everything up and take photos for my own pleasure.
Window blinds and sunlight are perfect for detailed, textured portraits with a touch of mystery. If it’s very bright outside, use the warm daylight to create eye-catching portraits.
What I love the most about window blinds is that their shadows can be controlled. You can make them wide enough to cast shadows on your model’s face. You can also keep them barely open so that they light up only a part of your model’s face.
For an extra touch of creativity, shoot through a window. This will create beautiful textures that will overlap the shadows and enhance your composition.
This is another idea that’s perfect for sunny days. Get close to your model’s face and cast shadows using hair, hands, or textured objects. The closer you get, the harder it will be to figure out what those shadows are. Since taking close-ups of people isn’t always comfortable, try photographing yourself instead.
I love natural window light. Whether it’s gloomy, sunny, or dark outside, windows will always provide enough light for soft portraits. Have your model stand right in front of a window for a glowing look. For the best results, take these photos when it’s slightly overcast.
A backlight is created when a subject stands right in front of a light source. This creates a halo around them and softens the entire image. If the weather outside isn’t ideal for portrait photography, use a lamp or a torch to take dreamy photos. If it’s sunny outside, have your model stand with their back to a window.
A backlight can make photos look flat. If your results end up looking dull, use a reflector to add more depth to your model’s face. Reflectors are fairly affordable nowadays, but you can also make your own using a sheet of white paper or foil.
Backdrops are great for indoor studio photo shoots. If you don’t have professional ones around, use everyday items like curtains, bedsheets, or an intricately designed wall. If something has texture, it’s very likely that it will make your portraits stand out.
I hope these ideas inspire you to take a break from your work and experiment with something new. The more experiences you expose yourself to, the easier it will be to enjoy your photo shoots and take incredible portraits. 🙂