Portraiture or Portrait photography in photography refers to a photograph of a person or a group of people that effectively captures their personality using backdrops, poses, and lighting. Portrait photography is generally employed for special occasions such as marriages. Portraits are used for a wide variety of purposes ranging from recreational use on a personal website to advertisement banners. Portrait photography boils down to capturing the personality of a person or group of people. A portrait photographer must choose a location, the lighting, and the pose of the subject based on the personality they want to show.
Wedding photography seems to be the most popular type of portrait photography. But, it is used for many other purposes as well.
If portrait photographs are captured in a studio, the photographer has complete control over the lighting and its direction. But, there are several methods employed to effectively light up a photograph including the famous
- Three-point lighting where three lights: Key, Fill and Backlight is used to effectively light up the portrait or butterfly lighting and many more. Three-point lighting is by far the most famous of the lighting techniques and is often also used in films to light up a scene. It is used by many cinematographers and has been derived from photography. It is important to note that although portrait photography uses many different lighting styles, they are all derived from photography in general and can be used in almost any style of photography.
- There are many different techniques for portrait photography. Generally, the subject’s face is kept in focus while the background is out of focus so as to give the subject more important but this can change depending on the style of portraiture.
There Four main approaches to Portrait Photography:
- The Constructionist approach uses a concept to construct the portrait such as a successful businessman, a happy family, etc. to achieve the desired photograph.
- The Environmental approach depicts the subject in a particular environment such as work, home, party, etc. to depict their personality.
- The Candid approach is to take a candid photograph in order to best capture the personality of the subject without the knowledge of the subject.
- The Creative approach is where digital editing and manipulation are used to create the best versions of a photograph. The creative approach is generally used to beautify an already existing photograph. Wedding portraitures generally use a creative approach.
Portrait photography is used almost everywhere to convey the personality of people. It may be used in movies to show the nature of the characters in order to attract audiences or even political campaigns for banners in order to sway people to vote for certain leaders. Portraiture has been around for many decades and is one of the oldest forms of photography. Even before photography, portraitures have been around as paintings depicting a long-range of people from homeless people to kings and queens. Portraits are also used in advertisements. Portraits capture the personality of not only people but situations and hence, they become an effective tool in marketing too. Portraitures are generally looked for to produce beautiful images of people and portrait photographers are always needed for some kind of a job be it marriages or ad banners.