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How to take the best portraits?

Payam Ghafoori | Photography and Photographers | Published Dec 21, 2011

Probably as a professional photographer or a serious enthusiast (otherwise you were not reading this article) you have asked or have been asked such questions many times. This is true that by nature we are all some sort of inclined to beauty and it is even more desirable to us to be the one who creates something beautiful. As artists we are always struggling to respond to this inner call and soothe our emerging passion. The beauty of the human kind has been always among one of the most wanted choices of artists to be created and represented.

Portraits as the most common representation of human beauty are of highest importance to many amateur and professional photographers. We have all encountered portraits which were simply magical, those we couldn’t help but staring in appreciation for minutes after minutes. Many of such images have not been taken of Hollywood super gorgeous actresses or in the mind blowing advanced photography studios. But one thing which is almost always common in them is that they have all been taken by an aware and passionate photographer.

By aware I am not just addressing technically knowledgeable (which is of course is a must) but also aware of his or her inner call, aware of what he or she saw at that moment by his or her eyes and most importantly heart. After all portraiture is a form of art and hence it demands for a dedicated and delicate feeling of the artist. We could have the most sophisticated gears and the most professional models but if we do not aware of our inner call, if we do not know what we want to create and if we do not be able to pre-visualize the final creation, it would be very low chance of a good portrait.

It should be noted that I am not addressing your passport photograph when mentioning portrait. Portrait in this article is supposed to be an artful presentation of human beauty, something which is highly capable of resonating feelings in the viewers and communicate right with their hearts. To have a clue on this I strongly recommend a study on the works of Steve McCurry and the legendry Yousuf Karsh.

So in my point of view although the technical knowledge is of vital importance in taking good portraits but to be able to create the best portraits one should have extensive awareness of his or her passion, inner call and imaginations, and to be honest this could be achieved only if some inherent ability is primarily possessed by the artist. In such a case long years of proper practice and deep focus on other good photographers’ works will ultimately refine the primarily rough and raw talent of the artist in a way that he or she will be able to create artful portraits in full control, portraits which will be capable of soothing both the artist’s and the viewers’ eyes and hearts.