Portrait photography: inspiring examples

Photo credits header: Style By Fabie

Whether you are a professional photographer or just looking for ways to take better portraits for your social media, for example, mastering good portrait photography is a must. Beautiful portraits make an impression, and tell something personal about yourself through images. A portrait photo can be used for a wide variety of purposes. How about a killer Instagram profile photo or just a professional portrait for on LinkedIn?

In this blog, we would love to teach you all about the basics to create stunning portraits. As a true insider, I like to share my most valuable tips and tricks for portrait photography, so that you immediately know where to start when you book a studio with us. The tips are also valuable for yourself, or if you are a photographer looking for some inspiration. After all, we also show you some great examples right away!

Choose the right location and background for your portrait photography

A good portrait photo starts with the right location and background. Here, try to use as much natural light as possible. Sunlight during golden hour (shortly after sunrise or before sunset) creates a warm, soft glow. For sharper, brighter light, shoot in the afternoon. Preferably choose a background that does not distract from the subject. A simple background, such as a plain wall or a quiet outdoor setting, can work wonders. In both The Loft and The Playground, we have beautiful plain walls and backdrops in pretty colours, so that you are the shining centre of attention.
Studio: The Loft Photo credits: Alina Krasieva
Atelier Oost Amsterdam host Jill
Studio: The Loft
Work with your model
Are you the photographer or do you work with a model, for example because you have a clothing brand? The success of a portrait shoot often depends on the relationship between the photographer and the model. Communication is key. As a photographer, talk to your model and discuss the style, poses and emotion you want to capture. If necessary and desired, help your model pose by giving subtle cues. Use poses that reflect the model's personality. Also provide plenty of candid footage: not all portraits need to be posed. Catch spontaneous, natural moments too.
Studio: The Playground Photo credits: Atelier Mabel
Studio: The Loft Photo credits: Alina Krasieva
Focusing on the eyes is a good trick. They are the windows to the soul and attract the viewer's attention. Always make sure the eyes are sharp. Use the focus of your camera to draw attention to the eyes. Try to create catchlights in the model's eyes; these are small light reflections that make the eyes vivid. We also recommend that you really work with the model to capture emotion in the eyes. The eyes should tell the story of the photo.

Experiment with lighting in portrait photography

Lighting is a crucial element in portrait photography. Use soft light to avoid harsh shadows. A diffuser or cloudy weather can help. Also play with the contrast between light and shadow to add depth and dimension to your photos. Want even more magic on screen? Then make use of the three-dimensional staircases in both The Loft and The Playground. Both spaces feature impressive staircase design on which you can go wild with different poses and effects to your heart's content. I also recommend using reflectors or a fill-in flash to brighten dark shadows.

Studio: The Loft Photo credits: Alina Krasieva

Edit your portrait photos with care

After you get the perfect shot, editing can make all the difference. Remove imperfections and retouch your model's skin, but don't overdo it. Apply colour corrections to achieve the right mood and tone, and consider cropping or straightening the photo for better composition.

Portrait photography, like product photography for example, is an art that requires practice and dedication. Experiment with different techniques and develop your own style. Remember, the most important tip of all is to have fun and capture your model's personality. At Atelier Oost Amsterdam, we believe that portraits tell stories and convey emotions, and we hope these tips will help you create beautiful portraits that do just that. Happy shooting and enjoy the creative inspiration in this blog!
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