So, we’ve all become adept at taking selfies. We know the best angles to shoot from. We get selfie sticks, pucker up and take that shot. But how about taking that one step further towards portrait photography? As social beings we have always been attracted towards other human beings and that is probably what makes “people” the most interesting subject to shoot. Anybody can point a camera and take a shot but how to bring out the drama and character of a person requires some study and technical manipulation. Here are some tips to get you started.

  • Fill Your Frame

Fill your frame with your subject. Portraits are about capturing the inherent personality of your subject. Don’t be afraid to zoom in. Fill up the space. Zooming in also enables you to capture the finer details of your subject’s face which adds to the character of the person.

  • Create a shallow depth of field

Don’t make your subject stand too close to any background and use a larger aperture to create a shallow depth of field. This will give a nice blurry effect to the background, enhance its textures and make your subject more prominent.


  • Direction

Direct your subject to look either straight into your camera or look in the direction of their nose. If your subject is looking at some direction other than your camera, make sure you compose the image such that there is some space left in front of your subject so that their gaze is not pointing straight out of the frame.


  • Rule of Thirds

Perhaps the most important rule to be followed in portraiture is The Rule of Thirds. Compose your image in such a way that your subject’s eyes are placed in the upper line of the grid. This is a tried and tested spacing for shooting portraits. Be careful not to leave too much headroom otherwise your subject might appear squashed.


  • Position

Placement of your subject is of prime importance. Don’t place your subject so that the limbs, or head or chin are cut off. This lends a degree of abruptness to the image which is very distracting for the viewer. Also make sure there are no lines impaling your subject or the horizon doesn’t cut through the neckline.



There are innumerable rules to follow (or not) when taking portraits. It depends on you how you want to frame your shots and bring out the character of your subject to make an interesting image. Even though these rules seem simple, they are important to follow so that your image doesn’t fall flat. Add them to your checklist and get some great portraits.