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Portrait Photography: Setting the Mood

A portrait photo shoot may seem like it should be simple, but there’s more to it than pointing your camera at your subject and taking the picture. A good portrait photograph should capture the essence of your subject in an engaging way that leaves the viewer wanting more. When you’re starting with portrait photography, knowing how to set the mood can help you get those memorable shots that can make all the difference when trying to stand out from the competition. Here are some tips on how to set the mood for portrait photography, whether you’re shooting photos of adults or children!

Choosing locations

Choosing the perfect location for your portrait photography sessions is just as important as choosing your subjects and camera. You want to be sure you are selecting a location that will complement the subject’s personality, reflect their mood or style, and showcase their interests.
The type of environment you choose for a photo session can set the mood for an expressive and diverse range of portraits.

Choosing lighting style

Rembrandt lighting is a classic portrait lighting style that is flattering on most subjects and very easy to set up. It uses three lights- one main light coming from the side of the camera and two fill lights coming from either side of your subject. The key light should be placed on one side of the lens and higher than the head level, while the two fill lights are set up on either side of your subject at a lower height than the head level.

Choosing models

A lot of the time, people don’t feel relaxed in front of the camera. The best way to create a relaxed atmosphere is to choose models who are not only comfortable in front of the camera but also know how to work with a photographer and their vision. Encourage your models to be silly and fun!

What you wear

Solid colors are a good option because they can be mixed and matched with different backgrounds. Plus, solid colors make it easy to change the mood of your portrait by adding accessories or changing the background color.

Get there early

Be on time and ready to shoot so you don’t miss out on getting some great shots. Be ready with a plan for your session. Know where you are shooting and what lighting style you want to use, and be able to adjust it on-the-fly if need be. Having that plan will also help set the mood for your session.

Warm up your face with makeup and light.

Preparing for the shoot is an important part of portrait photography. You should have a makeup artist and hairstylist on set with you to ensure your natural beauty shines through in the end result. If you don’t know how to do your own makeup or hair, a professional is recommended. They will be able to guide you in what light works best for your skin tone and which colors go best with your eyes and hair color.

Have fun!

Photographic lighting styles can be categorized into three types: directional, broad, and soft. Directional light is a light source that comes from one direction and casts shadows in a specific direction. Broad light is a light source that comes from many different directions and casts soft shadows. Soft light is a light source that comes from many different directions but with minimal shadows. The best type of lighting for portrait photography depends on what you want to achieve with your photo.