Portrait Photography – Skin, Love It Or Leave It Behind?

Portrait Photography – Skin, Love It Or Leave It Behind?

When shooting portrait photography, the issue of how much skin should or should not be displayed still rages. The debate is largely due to fashion photography. Keep reading and find out why …

Today’s photo tip is all about including skin in your portrait photography.

In fact, since portrait photography generally involves the area from the chest and upwards, the skin problem mostly concerns bare arms and low cropped bodices.

Here’s a golden rule you should put in your notebook now … “In a photo – any photo is not just a portrait – the eye is immediately drawn to the lightest area.”

Now consider a typical portrait, it has a background that is usually darker than the head being photographed. So, that makes the skin of the face, arms and chest the lightest area.

With all the skin catching the eye, viewers eyes bounce all over the place!

BTW – in high key portraits, in our minds the background disappears. Focus shifts to the subject – and the skin is still the lightest area.

In a portrait, you want all the focus to be on the face – nothing else! But, all that skin pulls the eye away. Not to mention that the arms generally drop in and out of the photo frame and will draw the eye completely out of the photo.

In other words, you could imagine ending up with a portrait where no one is actually seeing the face!

An added negative is that as we get older we put on some extra weight. For many women, weight appears on the arms first. Nobody wants a portrait that makes them look fat.

“But”, I can hear you say, “all fashion magazines show all the top models posing in skimpy clothes and showing A LOT of skin!”

They’re being photographed by top photographers, so what’s up?

Keep in mind that fashion photography and portrait photography serve very different purposes.

In portrait photography, we want the attention to be focused on the face. Then, if the viewer can describe the clothes being worn, we have failed.

In fashion photography we want attention focused on fashion! If no one can identify the model, that’s actually a good thing. (Except in the case of celebrity models – which is a completely different ballgame.)

So all of this has already been said – covering the arms and chest in portraits. Your clients will like them much better!

If you are planning to go to your next vacation without your camera – you are missing out on some incredible photo opportunities!

Parties, family gatherings and so on are the perfect opportunity to get some portraits where your friends and family will look at them and say, “Wow, you did that?”

It’s time to finally shut down that “uber-successful” smack that always brags about the latest deals he’s single-handedly put together that saved the company.

Trust me, she won’t be able to make portraits like you do, and EVERYONE would rather see portrait photography of themselves than listen to her other adventures! Use these photo tips starting today! For more information, check out the resource box!

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