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The 9 Commandments of Portrait Photography


Art has no rules. Correctly? Wrong! You can break the rules as long as it does not harm creativity. Do not get carried away by rebellion. For more than a hundred years, the principles of photography have been emerging, including the classic rules that are guaranteed to work. Let's look at these 9 commandments that have evolved over the years.

Commandment № 1: Portrait of a Model, Not a Photographer
We create portraits because we want to say something about a person. We are not shooting to show our new lens for $ 2000 or to get more likes on Instagram. Think about the composition, the light, and the story the model tells. The technique is secondary.

Commandment № 2: You need consent to take a portrait
Too many photographers call any old picture with the person depicted on it - a portrait. But for this to be a portrait, the subject must agree.
Otherwise, you could call any street photo or FASHION shooting a portrait. But this is not so. The word portrait will lose its meaning if we use it incorrectly.

Commandment № 3: A Portrait About a Man, Not About How He Looks
Excessive make-up, too elaborate clothes or special suits, an unusual hairstyle or stylish post-processing: all this makes the portrait just a fashionable picture. A portrait, first of all, should reveal emotions, and not the appearance of a person.

Commandment № 4: Portrait Can Never Tell You All About a Man
You cannot cover everything you need to know about a person in hundredths of a second. So never assume that you have captured the truth about a person. People have many sides, and you are lucky to catch only one of them.

Commandment № 5: We Learn from Teachers
We do not create portraits to be admired for a couple of days and forgotten. We want our photos to live as long as the works of the great masters from whom we learn.
Commandment № 6: Ideas are More Important Than Technique

You do not need to be a master in technology to be a good portrait photographer. But you should be able to formulate ideas and concepts that form the basis of your photos.

Commandment №7: Technique is More Important Than Tools
Cameras, lenses and lamps are fun and interesting. Work with equipment is interesting and exciting. It allows you to achieve a new and interesting lighting, look and atmosphere. But this is not what the main bet is worth doing. What matters is not what you use, but how you use it.

Commandment № 8: A Portrait Should Not Flatter a Model
If you are engaged in creativity, not commercial photography, you should shoot as you see fit. Only if the model pays you for the work, you must do everything so that its requests are satisfied. Otherwise, you have a creative union in which you are equal, but since you are the artist, you shoot as you see fit.

Commandment № 9: Do No Harm
The photographer’s job includes not only photography, but also communication. The photoshoot should be enjoyable for all participants. Help the model relax and get used to the image. For this you will get good pictures with natural facial expressions and plastic without constriction and constraint.
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