female model portrait

Creative Portrait Ideas – 17 Ideas To Improve Your Photography

Are you tired of using the same old settings and poses in your portrait photography? Do you struggle to come up with new ideas that wow your clients and audience? We’ve got you covered! In this article, we present 17 creative ideas for portrait photography that will take your work to the next level and leave a lasting impression. Get ready to unleash your creativity and captivate your viewers!

Creative Portrait Ideas - crazy contact lenses and makeup

Creative Portrait Ideas

#1 Get In Close

Take Stunning Close-Up Shots Unleash the power of a captivating close-up shot by focusing on a unique feature of your model’s face, like mesmerising freckles. You can also make the face stand out using makeup, accessories, lighting patterns, or various facial expressions. Explore creative cropping techniques to frame the most eye-catching parts, such as their captivating eyes, enchanting smiles, or alluring lips.

Play with Eye Contact Elevate the connection between your subject and the viewer by directing their gaze straight into the camera lens. Eye contact creates a powerful bond and draws viewers into the photograph. For more intrigue, ask your model to look off-camera, letting their gaze tell a compelling story.

Creative Portrait Ideas -  bright gels

#2 Go Wild With Colour Gels

Capture Portraits with Colour Gels Looking for indoor portrait photography ideas that evoke a certain mood or atmosphere? Experiment with colour gels! These transparent-coloured materials, also known as colour filters, can be placed over light sources to produce mesmerising effects. To create visually pleasing combinations, refer to the colour wheel and discover the perfect colour harmony.

Creative Portrait Ideas - mirror reflections

#3 Experiment with Reflections

Experiment with Reflections Introduce a touch of magic to your portraits by using small or shattered mirrors to accentuate specific features or create abstract compositions. Play with multiple mirrors to craft eye-catching and illusory photographs. Venture outdoors and reflect your model, the surroundings, or even the sky for an enchanting twist.

hard contrast portrait

#4 Push the Contrast

Use strong backlight to create moody portraits. Push the contrast and clarity to accentuate the visible details. For the above image, I placed the subject near a white wall and bounced two hard lights at the wall. The bounced light wrapped around the subject to create a moody rim-lit portrait.

portrait of author Diriye Osman in red

#5 Concentrate on a Single Colour

Create depth and artistic compositions by emphasising the characteristics of a single colour or experimenting with different shades of the same colour. Then have some fun with the saturation sliders in post-production.

Musician photography

#6 Intrigue the Viewer

Add a touch of anonymity to intrigue your viewers by covering your model’s face or body with a cloth or other materials. Spark their curiosity about the person behind the veil and their untold story. These captivating photographs can serve as exquisite wall decor or grace the covers of magazines.

hard light portrait of male model

#7 Use Hard Light

Softboxes are boring! Use a large magnum reflector to create dramatic black and white portraits.

creative editorial portrait

#8 Utilise Props To Create Interest

Make simple creative props to elevate your portraits by incorporating unique objects into the frame. From wigs, masks, and hair accessories to costumes, glitter, confetti, and various eye-catching elements, let your imagination run wild and craft unforgettable images.

DJ promo picture

#9 Use Prisms To Abstract The Image

Create artistic effects with prisms. Unlock a world of creative possibilities with prism photography. By bending, refracting, or scattering light on your subject using a prism, you can add dreamy reflections, flare, rainbows, or blur effects to your portraits. Experiment with different positions of lights and the prism to create unique one-off images.

DJ promo picture

#10 Use a Projector

Use a projector to project stills or films onto the subject. Download abstract texture films and use them to create distinctive portraits.

portrait of creative make up artist

#11 Use Bold Makeup

Experiment with Bold Makeup Bring out the artistic side of your portraits by collaborating with professional makeup artists and experimenting with creative and bold colour combinations, or captivating glitter. Ensure that the backdrop and outfit complement the makeup, and emphasize freckles for a unique touch. Capture striking half-side close-up portraits, emphasizing the vertical or horizontal aspects of the face.

Portrait of DJ Tony Cortez with sunglasses

#12 Always Have Sunglasses On Set

Sunglasses are an excellent prop for portrait photo shoots. Use them to reflect colour, subjects can play with them. They can make a statement.

black and white portrait of model posing on reflective material

#13 Use Unusual Poses

Master the Art of Posing Transform your portraits by emphasising the best features of your subjects and capturing their authentic personality. Communicate clearly with your models, express your goals, and suggest interesting poses in advance. Encourage them to practice in front of a mirror and invite them to move freely, dance, or strike captivating poses.

Creative Portrait Ideas -  hair shake

#14 Hair Shakes and Movement

Think on your feet and experiment. A hair shake is a great way to loosen subjects up and create fun on set. You need subjects with long hair and who are prepared to mess around a bit. It doesn’t always work but when it does you get unusual portraits like the one above of Joyia.

Creative Portrait Ideas -  double exposure

#15 Double Exposures

Most cameras have a multiple exposure feature. Play around with focus – Leo from the band Palace was using a projector on a video shoot. I layered one out-of-focus image over an in-focus image.

Cosplay portrait shoot for Instagram

#15 Build a Set

It doesn’t take much to build a set. Needed an industrial look for a shoot, so up went the scaffold tower and ladder. Lent some bits of metal and perspex against a grey backdrop. Threw in some haze and hey presto one set.

Creative Portrait Ideas -  drag the shutter

#16 Drag The Shutter

Mix Continuous and flash lighting and get the model to move or shake the camera deliberately. Experiment around the 1/2 and 1/4 second mark for the shutter speed and use rear curtain sync so the flash goes off at the end of the exposure and freezes the detail.

Creative Portrait Ideas -  wide angle 90s vibe

#17 Explore Wide Angles

Explore Different Angles Infuse creativity into your portraits by changing your perspective. Shooting from different angles adds variety and visual interest. Low-angle photography creates a slimming and elongating effect, while top views allow for creative hair arrangements or the addition of props.

Creative Portrait Ideas Summary

Express Your Unique Vision Let your imagination soar and create attention-grabbing portraits that reflect your creativity. Seek inspiration from fashion magazines, visual artist Instagram accounts, or creative blogs. Embody the wildest ideas you’ve been longing to bring to life or collaborate with your audience, models, or stylists to craft unforgettable images.

Don’t let a lack of ideas hinder your progress! Bookmark this article and return to it whenever you need a spark of inspiration for your personal or commercial work. Let these portrait photography ideas ignite your creativity and guide you toward new and remarkable photoshoots that leave a lasting impression. Elevate your photography to new heights and capture the essence of the human spirit like never before.

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