Portrait Photography Tips by Satish Chelluri


People photography can be captured with or without your subject’s awareness and cooperation.

Hence it falls into two categories
1. Portraits
2. Candid

I always keep the below points in my mind while doing the people photography.

1. Get Closer or Interact

Many people are shy to pose to the camera. It is always good to interact with such people before taking the portraits to get an amazing feel or mood in the portraits. Smile is a universal language hence gives a smile with your subject if you don’t know their language. Your smile will effectively create a comfort zone between you and your subject.

Before interaction:
He has given an uncomfortable strange look immediately after taking the portrait without having any interaction.

After Interaction:
It is very comfortable between subject and portrait after a little interaction. He gave me a decent pose with smile. Here the smile added a beauty to his portrait.


2. Eyes in People photography


Focus on Eyes

Eyes always help to draw the viewers into photos. Always focus the eyes of the subject in the portrait people photography while taking the pictures with open apertures (like f/2.8)


Eye contact

Eye contact elevates the attractiveness in any genre of photography like portraits, wedding, documentary, and photojournalism.
Eye contact signifies the confidence, attractiveness, honesty, mood and emotion of the portrait.
Studies shows that photographs in which the subject was looking straight at the camera were rated much more attractive.
Even in cultural portraits with frowned eyes upon with smile is more appealing in photographs.

Yashasvi with Face pack (IMG_3563)

Watching Space

The subject looking into negative space will interpret the mood of the subject to the viewers.



Closing Eyes

It is not necessary to capture the eyes in open for storytelling portraits

Mega Silence (IMG_1220-2)



Catchlight in eyes is also targets the viewers attention. Natural catchlight can be captured when the subject is in shade and looking into the bright light. Many studio portraits will have the catch light from the strobes with a softbox or umbrella.

I am an innocent when my teacher ask me to maintain silence!! (IMG_1225-2)

Choose Your Background

Think about the background for portraits before releasing shutter button.
Avoid distracting elements in the background. Choose the background to imply the culture or work of the people.
Sometimes changing the angle of the shoot can help to give a better background.
Using a higher aperture and the distance of background from the subject will provide blurred or bokeh background.

a) Textured background.


Koti Women's College (IMG_2135_RS)

b) Clear Background

Yashasvi as Little Krishna (IMG_5988-2)

c) Background shows the work environment


d) Blurred or bokeh background

Bonalu 01 (IMG_4453)


4. Shallow depth of field

The portrait looks dramatic while capturing it with higher aperture to get shallow depth of field.


5. Focus on interesting elements than the subject

Focus on any interesting elements than the subject and off focus the face gives a creative look in the portraits.


Alekhya & Anil IMG_9930_RS


6. Fill the frame

Filling the frame with the complete face of the people


7. Add another person or element



Circus Photographer (IMG_1671-2_RS)

8. Background can be Subject too

Include the background also as subject in people photography while capturing the traditional cultures


9. Capture the emotions

Wait for right moment to capture the emotions and moods of the people.



10. Use burst mode
Use burst mode to capture the sequence of actions of the people


11. Capture the various traditional people

Play with fire (IMG_9656_RS)

Street artist (IMG_5060_RS)

Srikrishna (IMG_6073)






About Satish Chelluri


Satish Chelluri is an IT professional by profession and a photographer by a passion. Capturing the emotions, cultures of people are always fascinated me and therefore personally I like the portrait photography.

Thanks to Saurabh Chatterjee to mentor me to pursue my passion in photography. Thanks to SIA family for your cooperation and feedbacks.

Tips for photographers

Some very good tips


This post is written by Saurabh Chatterjee. He is a travel photographer and a photography trainer.He strives to make every camera-owner a great photographer through his Photography workshops and Photo Tours and Photowalks.
All rights reserved. No copying without permission of the author Saurabh Chatterjee

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