Different angles of a model, as well as various camera angles, can bring attention to the many aspects of your subject in portrait photography. Shooting straight on brings the viewer into the scene, while a side view can make viewers feel they are sneaking a peek as an onlooker. A subject seems small when shot from above and imposing or larger than life when photographed from below. A tilted angle can feel foreboding or whimsical.
Rule of thirds
Use the rule of thirds to put the main or interesting part of your subject in the crosshairs of the three-by-three grid that divides your image into equal parts. “People always talk about the rule of thirds and those are now baked into cameras on phones,” says Griswold. “Using those grids and by stretching and playing with them, you can start to get more creative with how you break things out and direct the viewer’s eye.” While a symmetrical image may be perfect at times, putting your subject to one side or in a corner can add intrigue.
Depth of field
Use a shallow depth of field to bring the focus just to your main subject. “I think when you’re dealing with product photography, depth of field really comes into play,” says Lo. “But it also matters for a lifestyle shot. The elements in the background should not fight with the main subject that you want to put in front. Depth of field can help to blur a background so that there’s still texture, but your eye doesn’t get distracted by it.”
Put distance between your subject and the other elements in the image or physically move closer to the subject (or zoom in), to adjust emphasis in a shot. Use a telephoto lens in landscape photography where you want to emphasise a mountain towering over a scene.
Make sure your subject is the main (if not the only) thing in focus to easily grab the viewer’s attention. By blurring the background of an image using a bokeh effect, your in-focus subject won’t compete with anything for attention.
Contrast, clarity and sharpness
You can bring up the contrast, clarity and sharpness to make the subject stand out. Perfect silhouettes capitalise on contrast by setting the main subject in front of a light background.
White space and minimalism
Use white space (or negative space) to bring a minimalist look to images, so the subject is the only thing to focus on and there’s no visual clutter.