Experiment with the Wise Camera app and portrait photography while stuck at home
Use Your Time Wisely
Lockdowns and isolation are some of the inevitable results of living through a Covid pandemic, but boredom doesn’t have to be part of the deal. Although you may not have the usual opportunities for photographic adventures, don’t pack your camera away. This is an ideal time to experiment with your iPhone and the Wise Camera app so that when you travel and socialize again, you’ll be primed and ready to take compelling photos that show off your photographic skills.
Photography at Home
Covid has combined with winter to make outdoor photography a difficult proposition in the Northern Hemisphere, but there’s an alternative. Use this time to practice portrait photography at home with your partner, other family members who are isolating with you, or just set the iPhone on a tripod for selfies. Partner with your family member that always wanted to model, it’ll be a win-win situation! Indoor spaces like living rooms or enclosed porches with diffused light are perfect environments for portrait photography. You’ll be entertaining yourself, it’ll give you a chance to try some new techniques, and it will give your family and you a break from social media and streaming TV shows.
Why do Portraits?
Portrait shots give you a sense of engagement with the subject and allow creative expression with the possibility of a variety of poses, including extreme close-ups, head-and-shoulders, and half-body portraits. Although extreme close-ups are very intimate, they can distort whatever is closest to the camera. For example, the subject's nose may look out of proportion. This distortion is more pronounced when using the iPhone's 0.5X or 1X camera lens, so portraits are best when taken with the 2X to 3X iPhone camera lens. Moving further away allows you to show more details of the home environment around the subject, which is perfect for home photography. However, don't stand too far back, as you want to clearly see the person’s eyes to maintain the same sense of connection that a good portrait generates. Try these shots so you can refresh the images in your family’s photo albums. Maybe use these photos to share on social media, dating apps for when the pandemic is over, or share with loved ones on holidays and special occasions!
When taking portraits, maintaining symmetry is one of the more popular composition methods. Make sure your iPhone is upright to see more of the subject’s chest and avoid empty space at the sides. Have the subject facing you directly and position them in the middle of your iPhone’s screen. Use the Wise Camera app and have the subject in the middle of the centerline on the ‘Symmetry’ option. Keep your camera at the same height as the model and make sure their head is somewhat above the center point of the app’s red lines, so you maintain a balanced image. This type of image produces a harmonious feeling and is quite appealing.
The Dominant Eye
Having the subject off-center produces the opportunity to incorporate another technique called ‘Center Eye Composition’. This uses the dominant eye, which is the subject’s eye that’s closest to the camera. Position the dominant eye in the center vertical line of the Wise Camera app ‘Symmetry’ composition for an engaging image. Famous artwork from the past (including Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa) made good use of this artistic composition rule because it gives a ‘wow factor’ to portraits.
Rule of Thirds
To add a more interesting element to a portrait session, try the rule of thirds. This composition technique is often reserved for landscapes, but it’s an ideal composition method for portraits too. On your iPhone, open the Wise Camera app, choose the rule of thirds option, and make sure your subject is located along with one of the vertical red lines looking straight towards the iPhone. The rule of thirds composition tip takes them away from the center and makes the image slightly off-balance but in a positive and compelling way, as it shows the subject's environment, to help to tell the portrait story. But on which line should your subject be positioned? Keep reading.
Use of Space
It’s important to have enough space on the side of the subject, so the image doesn’t look crowded. If the model is on the red line on the right of the app, they should face towards the front or left. If they are on the right and they are facing the right side of the frame, it will look as if they are about to bump into a wall and there will be wasted space behind them. It’s always best to have someone looking forwards or towards an area of space.
One of the easiest ways to get good lighting for your photos is to settle your subject in front of a window or lamp that has a good amount of light coming through. Soft, even light from a window reveals the contours and shape of the person’s face. For an image that’s powerful and mysterious, turn off nearby lights, so the only light comes from the window. When the subject is parallel to the window, only half of their face will be lit, leaving the far side in shadow. Even a teenage boy who doesn’t want his photo taken is going to like this type of dramatic portrait. On the other hand, if you want to reduce shadows and have a more traditional portrait, leave on as many lights as necessary.
Where to Look?
Another important thing to remember is that even though you are using a window for light, the viewer of the image doesn’t have to know that it’s a window. It’s really just a source of diffused light for the photographer to work with. The model doesn’t have to be gazing out the window. In fact, it’s better if they’re not! When the subject looks towards the camera, there is more engagement with the viewer. Having the person looking straight towards the camera is fine, but for a more intriguing appearance, have the subject’s head, and body turned slightly away, but with their eyes looking into the lens.
Experimenting with portrait poses is a fun way to interact with your family, and with these tips in mind, you’ll have flattering results you can all be proud of. If you don’t have family with you at the moment, you can still create better shots from the ones you’ve already taken. Download the Wise Photos app and edit some of your best shots of people with the Rule of Thirds composition tool. With a dash of imagination and a few minutes of clever editing, you can turn your snapshots into stunning portraits.