One of the best things that you can do as a portrait photographer is find a way to really make your subject look like they’re popping off of the screen at your viewer (technically speaking of course!). With modern lenses it’s very simple to do, but even if you don’t have those, or the latest and greatest software, it’s still also quite possible if you just take a few careful steps.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
And don’t worry, you don’t need to wait until golden hour.
Make Your Subject Take Up a Key Part of the Frame
The first tip should be very obvious to a lot of people, though amazingly it isn’t. If your subject isn’t taking up at least 25% of the photo, then there isn’t any sort of chance they’re going to stand out. Of course, there needs to be some sort of balance. You need to see them in a scene, and there needs to be something there that they can be separated from.
This goes hand in hand with lens choices and that’s a good reason why medium telephoto focal lengths are very popular with a number of portrait photographers–because they can focus on just their subject and blur the rest of the scene out.
Of course, this also has to do with the laws of physics and how lenses render a scene.
How does this work? Well, what you’re doing here is first off placing your subject in the frame for them to take up enough space. This makes them a key part of the frame. The less of the frame they take up, the tougher it can be to get them to stand out with that 3D look.
Bokeh/Depth of Field
If you’re reading this site, we’re positive that you know what bokeh is. Photographers who do headshots often utilize shallow depth of field so that their subject is able to simply pop out more from the background overall. These effects are easier to do with fast aperture lenses and when physically working closer to the subject. But of course, you’ll need to balance this with personal preference.
How does this work? Consider that, when you have nothing in focus and it isn’t clear to see anything, you have no depth in your scene. You can surely just guess, but that’s all you’re doing. Imagine driving in a very heavy rainstorm without windshield wipers on. There’s no way that you’re going to be able to tell any sort of depth or see anything. Lenses work in a similar way, they focus a scene enough so that you can tell someone where to look.