6 ways to make better photographic portraits

July 27, 2016

Photos are an important element of any story you tell about a person. An expressive photograph of a person captures a key part of his or her personality. Here are some ways to get genuine, authentic images with journalistic excellence.

  • Do some reporting so you know something about your subject. Feel free to ask questions such as “Where are you most comfortable?” and “Where do you spend most of your time?”
  • Connect with the person you are photographing to make a better portrait. Approach sources with the desire to help them relax and be natural during your time together.
  • Make your photographic compositions deliberate. Compose in the camera, remembering that all items in the viewfinder are relevant.
  • If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough. Zoom with your feet, not your lens.
  • Document three images for each moment you capture. That will make it more likely that you will get a good, usable photograph.
  • Backgrounds should be an asset, not a distraction. Avoid having your source too close to a reflective surface, bright window, light source or complex pattern unless it is important to the message of the portrait.

Taken from 100 Ideas to Make Your Journalism Better, a webinar replay at Poynter NewsU.

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