Taking Pictures of Individuals

Single-subject shots generally fall into two categories: classic portraits, in which the person is the only subject and is isolated from time and place; and environmental portraits, which include the person's surroundings.

Formal Portraits

Most people think of formal studio shots when they hear the term “classic portrait,” but the term really describes any picture of a person that focuses more on them than on their surroundings. While formal portrait shots taken in specially equipped studios are also classic portraits, they're beyond the interest of most amateur photographers and won't be dealt with in-depth here.

Informal Portraits

Shooting classic portraits in more informal settings is vastly more fun than shooting in a studio, as you don't have to worry as much about factors such as posing and lighting. For the most part, your subject is going to do what he or she does naturally; your job is to figure out the best way to capture the image.

Classic portraits are also called cosmetic portraits, as they focus on the subject's facial features — hair, eyes, lips, nose, and mouth.

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