TIPS-ON-TUESDAY: Creative Portraits

Let’s get right to it.

I’m bored with the same-old, day in and day out blogs, so I’m going to start some new series!…Series-ies…? Like, multiple series, hopefully. I don’t know. Anyways, I’m going to begin something a little bit new on Tuesdays. Photography tips with Justin! Yay! Are you excited?! I hope so, I am! Well, without further ado, TIPS ON TUESDAY with me, Justin, hey, hi, how are ya?

So, creative portraits! You want to take your portraits to the next level and have a unique perspective. Sure, the tight shot above with the soft, creamy background looks nice, and the wide shot appears like a lifestyle sort of photo. But, everyone shoots like that. I’m guilty of it because it’s the style I prefer the most! I’m a lifestyle photographer – that’s my niche. Every once in a while, I like looking for those creative spots, but where do you find them? It’s all up in the brain.

We’re going to dive into three distinct styles that I utilize fairly often. Here are the first ones, pictured above. They’re simple, with a large depth of field (this means everything is in focus), and captures more of the scenery around G, my lovely friend. These styles are easily replicated on a phone camera, and, in this case, with my 24mm lens. Since it’s a wide lens, everything will naturally be in focus, even when shooting at an aperture of 2.8!

Now, let’s add depth to the photos. These above four shots were taken with a 70-200mm 2.8 lens, a lens that has started to become my favorite lens for portraits! It creates a very soft depth of field in the background and makes that nice, creamy composition, separating the subject from the background. This is by far my favorite style of portrait – it clearly makes the person the subject of the photo and immediately draws the viewer to your photo more easily.

Now, that’s not to say a wide angle lens can’t add depth to a photo. The six shots above are shot with a 24mm lens. This is created by being very close to the subject, perhaps only a few feet away. On my camera, it essentially creates what the eye sees when it looks at a person. Basically, this is what your eye sees on a day-to-day basis (the eye sees 35mm – my lens sees 38.4). I love this focal length a lot – it creates the perfect depth that I want while also separating the subject and allowing for a lot of the background to be shown. It’s just a solid lens!

But Justin, where’s the creativity? These are simple, lots of people do this! Well yes, that’s the point – here’s how most people shoot. Now, take a look at these below. See a difference?

Here’s the third part: up your portrait game by shooting through objects. The first two pictures are with my 24mm lens. The two above and two below are with my 70-200 lens. See how they’re different? They achieve a level of creativity that only a photographer knows well. Wanna know how it’s done? Get really close to something, whether it’s leaves, branches, a doorpost, anything at all in your environment. Heck, even your camera strap works! As you can see above, I shot through small bushes and then a palm branch. It created a unique take on a portrait. The below photos were shot through some flowers, which is how the yellow and orange tones were achieved. All of this is done “in-camera”; no Photoshop involved! Don’t have the luxury of shooting through objects like this? Hold up a piece of paper, a fallen leaf, even sunglasses or a random drinking glass! You’ll create an effect that is unique to your photo.

Just go out and try it! I’d love to see more people do this!

Be adventurous. Be creative. You’ll get there.

Thanks for joining me. I’m excited to do Tips-On-Tuesdays! I have a few posts lined up, so I’m stoked to get going with them! See you on the flip side.

~ Justin


Parting shots:

Next blog: A new face in some snow. She brought a giant scarf that’s basically a blanket! Super cool! Be there!

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