Ever wanted to take brilliant portrait shots of yourself or even friends and family members? New to photography and want some pointers on how to get started? If so, then you’ve come to the right article. We understand that a lot of people are rather negative when it comes to beautiful photographs because they know about the existence of programs like Photoshop. If there are ways to edit photographs and essentially paint over imperfections, then do you really need to be mindful of how you take a picture in the first place? Do things like lighting and depth of field matter when you can replicate those effects in software?
While it can seem a lot more efficient at times to just edit photographs in order to make great portraits, there are actually a number of good reasons why you should focus a bit more on the original shot than what you can do with photo editing. So we’re going to preface this article with an answer: no! You don’t need photo editing to take great portraits, and we’re going to explain why you don’t and what you can do to ensure that all of your photographs look great.
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It all starts with a good photograph
If you want to take brilliant portrait photos then the photograph itself needs to be of high quality. Sure, image editing programs like Photoshop can do wonders when it comes to fixing issues, but the reality is that you still need to focus on taking a beautiful photograph using all of the tricks and tips that you’ve gathered over the years. Taking a good photograph can be a little difficult (especially if you’re relatively new to photography) but it’s also a fantastic way to understand what makes a good portrait shot and how you can take beautiful pictures without needing to rely on effects and editing after the fact.
We’d go as far as to say that many photographers these days rely too much on Photoshop and other image editing programs. When you can just paint over or “fix” mistakes in a program, why should you bother trying to capture the perfect picture? You can even edit all of the colors in an image and also change things like the contrast or even add elements if needed. Yet, there are still many photographers that know just how much easier it can be to take a great portrait if you start with solid photography skills and experiment with different things.
So what can you do to ensure that you have a beautiful photograph to use as a base? Here are some tips to help you out.
Make sure the subject looks great
Whether it’s using face makeup/blush, dressing them appropriately, or asking them to pull off an approach expression, there are actually many different ways to ensure that the subject or person in your photograph looks great. This can be surprisingly difficult if you don’t have much of a background in makeup and how to make someone look their best.
In fact, many people simply rely on photoshop to clean up things like blemishes and spots. While this can be a lot more efficient in many ways, just don’t overlook the importance of starting with a clean and beautiful base image that could stand on its own.
Try multiple different positions
There are many different positions that you can try with a portrait photograph. In many cases, you’ll want to try and take photographs from a number of different angles so that you can pick the best image out of a bunch. Try taking shots at various distances, circle around the subject to find new views, and even consider aerial viewpoints if possible.
Your model’s pose can also be a factor to consider as well. Ask them to try different poses, place their hands in different positions, and even consider trying different expressions to change the overall feel and theme of the photograph.
While there are many tips that you can follow to take better base photographs before editing, it’s a good idea to remember that much of it is down to experience, knowledge, and understanding of what goes into a great photograph.
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There are many ways to get some light photo editing done without prior knowledge
We’re going to admit right now that photo editing is something that is extremely important when it comes to getting great portraits. However, if you think that this means spending hours learning photoshop and touching up pictures to make them look nice, then you’d be wrong. In reality, photo editing just refers to any kind of editing that is done to a picture. This means that you don’t have to spend hours adjusting colors and painting over blemishes, especially if you have tools available that can essentially do this for you.
A good example of this is smartphone photography. While many professionals would be confused at the idea of using a smartphone to take serious photographs, there’s no denying that there are a plethora of tools available to help you perform some quick and effective edits to make your photographs look great. Whether you’re using an Android phone or an Apple, almost every modern smartphone has a great camera and you can download many interesting and unique tools that can help you do some quick edits.
But even when it comes to computer programs like Photoshop that are used by industry professionals, many of them apply the same kind of effects on each photograph. These are known as Photoshop actions and they can simplify things like skin retouching. In addition, there are lots of plugins that can help you automatically soften skin and add unique effects or depth to your photographs.
So in short you don’t need to use photo editing to make great portraits, but if you have the tools available to you then why not consider using them? It’ll make your images stand out a lot more and you’ll have a beautiful image after just a few clicks.