Portrait tips for shoulders
Be it corporate portraits for a brochure or web site, head-shots for an agent or a portrait for an editorial profile, the position of the subjects shoulders can make a photo stand out or not.
When taking head shots and upper body portraits of people one simple posing tip is to angle the shoulders of your subject rather than to have them even or squared in your shot.
While the shoulders might not seem like an important aspect of a portrait they can set the tone for an image as they’re the widest part of your subject. Certain angles can give your subject power, and others make them appear more ‘sexy’.
Angling the shoulders slightly, can give balance and helps lead your viewer’s eye into the photo towards your main focal point. It can also stop your subject looking out of proportion as it lessons the width of the shoulders slightly. You will need to ask your subject to lean in one direction or another or it could simply mean getting them to turn their body a little so you’re not photographing them directly front on. Another technique can be to frame your subject off centre so that one shoulder is out of the frame.
I have found that by having my subjects turn their right shoulder to camera and lowering it slightly, whilst sightly learning forward, this can give them the impression of power, which is good for both corporate portraits and portraits used for PR photography.
There are no hard-and-fast rules, it’s not written on stone, and often the completely front on symmetrical shot can have an impact on upon your viewer. This works best if a little space is left at one or both sides of your subject within the frame. The main thing is that the shoulders appear relaxed.
For the featured photo, I ask my subject to learn slightly forward into the camera, and to look directly into the lens, and I framed him off centre much to the right.
I have addressed this blog to portrait photographer, but if you are reading this as a non photographer, maybe keep it in mind for when you do have your portrait taken.
If you would like more information, or need a professional photographer, please contact me, or go to The British Institute of Professional Photography’s site www.bipp.com
Thank you for reading this blog.