COMPOSITIONAL ELEMENTS OF A PERFECT PORTRAIT
These elements and tools weave an impact to compel the viewer through the image. Read on to know how.
The area of the dynamic visual interest is where any two lines of the rule of thirds diagram intersect. It is the ideal spot to place the main point of interest.
In a head and shoulders portrait, the eyes should be at the intersection of two or a dividing line of the viewing area of the rule of thirds.
In a full length or three quarter one, the head should fall on a dividing line or intersection point.
- Leave more space in front of the subject rather than behind them for a direction and movement effect.
- When capturing a subject looking toward the camera to the right, there should be more space on the right side of the frame.
- Even if the subject is to be centered in the mid of the frame, leave more space to whichever side the subject is turned.
It is important to identify and distinguish between real and implied lines.
These are not obvious lines, like the bend of an arm or curve of a wrist. These implied lines must not contradict the composition of the portrait but must modify it. They must add touches in the direction, leading to the actual point of interest.
A real line is one which is obvious, like a horizon. Real lines must not intersect the portrait in two halves, as this will split the portrait composition into two pictures. Provide visual weight to the image by locating the real lines on a point which is one third into the photograph.
Diagonal lines offer a gently sloping path, which is followed by the eye of the viewer. These are not like natural vertical and diagonal lines and are thus more interesting.
Tension is a state of any imbalance in the portrait. One can create visual tension by pairing a small subject with a big sky. Balance is using two dissimilar shapes to create harmony in a photograph.
Usually tension is resolved in the image through the introduction of balance. Tension may also be referred to as visual contrast, with more subjects on one side of the portrait than the other, all with different sizes and shapes. An ideal visual balance may be introduced by either color coordinating between the different subjects according to their size or some other factor.
The eyes would see a balanced result if same sized subjects are wearing same colored clothing, and the toys or subjects on the other side are dressed in dark colors.
Using shapes and lines to get the triangular base or some other form for an ideal portrait is important. Shapes introduce balance and tension within a portrait, and subjects may be linked by creating any common element between different multiple groups. Shapes and lines are used to create well composed images which have the element of visual interest introduced by the photographer.
Bright tones advance on a visual level, while dark tones retreat. Light pictured elements in the picture will be distracting, so any bright areas on the edge of the picture should be darkened to avoid distraction.
The S shaped composition is a favorite in which the center of interest actually falls in the dynamic quadrants of the picture. The rest of the composition actually forms an S shaped sloping line, which is used to lead the eye of the viewer to the main interest area.
The L or inverted L shaped compositions are used for reclining or seated subjects. The Z and C shaped compositions are also visually pleasing and seen in different types of portraits.