Finding new ideas to try is difficult in every creative field and the same is the same with portrait photography. Whether the person is a beginner or a professional, having new things to explore is something that everyone wants up their sleeve.

1. Communication is the key 

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Communicate with your subject regarding the lighting, props and background to build their confidence in you. Ask them questions and be interested in what they want to make them feel that you are serious about taking some good photographs. 

2.Ask the subject about what they want

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Even when you have some great ideas, talk to the subject for inputs, as they may help you add some elements which make the photos pop. 

3. Mood Lighting

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Set the lighting according to the mood you want to show in the portrait. For example, to create bold or mysterious portraits use dark and shadowy lighting effects. However, for a gentle or sombre mood, use soft lighting and reduce shadows using reflectors.

4. Make place for the environment

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If your environment has elements that suit the mood of your portrait, incorporate the environment into your portrait. However, if there is nothing in the environment that you can use, isolate the subject or blur the background to obtain sole focus on the subject.

5. Explore the Setup

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Try to come up with new ideas by exploring different types of lighting setups and background colours to create a variety of different portraits.

6. Incorporate Hands

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Hands add more story to a portrait giving it an altogether different dynamic. So incorporate the hands of the subject if the mood you are aiming to capture allows the same. This will help the subject to relax and be a bit more comfortable as well as give a creative touch to the portrait. 

7. Take a Series of Pictures

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Try to capture some diverse expressions and poses in a single setup with the goal of making a series of portraits which can be displayed together.

8. Go for Candids

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Capture each moment as it comes and keep observing the subject for some great candids. Don’t keep fiddling with the camera settings and lighting to be constantly aware of what the subject is doing. Try interacting with the subject to make them feel comfortable in their skin which will make it easier to get some good candid shots.

9. Go with the Flow

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Even when you have planned each and every thing from lighting to background, be prepared to improvise a little according to the subject. Communicate with your subject about their views and ideas. Knowing that they had some say in your ideas, makes them more expressive and confident.

10. Don’t just go for Stills

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Adding some movement in your photos can give them a different aesthetic and liveliness. For instance, a walking or a jumping subject and a good hair flip for subjects with longer hair are some good ideas.

11. Use the Skin Tones

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At times, the composition has a lot of contrasts in it which can be a challenging situation. For instance, while clicking pictures of two people, one wearing white and one black, can make it difficult for you to find the perfect exposure setting. In such a case, using skin tones to balance the exposure can be a good idea. 

Though, it is challenging to come up with new ideas and portraits every now and then, using these tips might help you get some really good shots. 

Make sure to show the pictures to your subject to give them an idea about your working style which will help boost their confidence for further shoots. 
*All images by Jassi Oberai