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instax Blog

How to Create Flawless Instant Portraits

Posted by Fujifilm Instax May 20, 2015


Since ancient times, humans have been obsessed with portraits. From Stone Age cave paintings to da Vinci’s 16th century Mona Lisa, people have used art to capture and memorialise the images of those most important to them.

Today, we rely on photography to create portraits of loved ones. Instant photography offers us the ability to pose a friend, snap their photo, frame it and hang it on the wall in just minutes. It’s convenient and perfectly complements our fast-paced lifestyle.

However, while it may be easier to snap a photo than commission a painting, high quality portraits are no less important today than they were a thousand years ago. To help you create beautiful images of your favourite people, consider our easy tips:

1. Use the Correct Light Settings

From amateurs to veteran professionals, every photographer faces lighting challenges. Sometimes the perfect backdrop doesn’t always offer the greatest lighting. Luckily, your instax camera has a brightness adjustment dial with a built-in brightness prediction. Additionally, you can use the high-key mode mark for a more softly lit appearance. 

Keep in mind, though, a lighting blunder is not always a catastrophe. An accidental silhouette or over-exposure can sometimes make for an interesting image.

2. Experiment with Eye Contact

School portraits conditioned us to look straight into the lens, and many of us never kicked this habit. While eye contact can make for a great photo, consider other options. Have your subject look down, or out into the distance. If you have more than one subject, ask them to interact with each other. In some cases, a photo evokes more emotion if the eyes are focused elsewhere.

3. Make Your Subject Comfortable

One of the most difficult things about photographing other people is not everyone feels cosy in front of the lens. If your subject doesn’t feel comfortable, he or she may look awkward or disconnected. To help your pal’s personality shine through, make sure they’re well prepared. Throw out a few genuine compliments to improve confidence and make small talk between shots to keep the mood light. The more relaxed your subject, the more authentic the results.

4. Give Direction

Unless your subject is a professional model, they may not know how to sit, stand or pose for a photo. In most cases, they’re relying completely on your perspective to ensure a satisfactory result. If you think they should move a step to the left, place their hand on their hip and move their chin up, say so! The more instruction you provide, the more likely you are to end up with a pride-inducing masterpiece.

5. Go Abstract

Not every portrait has to be a perfectly centered, carefully focused head shot. In fact, when it comes to instax, there are far too many possibilities to pigeonhole your skills to the standard. Play with double exposure, movement and longer distances. Instant photography lends itself to more abstract works, so go with the flow. As long as you have enough film, don’t be afraid to experiment with one or two shots. Worst case scenario, you learned something new. Best case scenario, you develop a unique new method.

Last, but not least, make sure to have fun. Add in props, costume changes and consider taking turns passing the camera back and forth between you and your subject. When it comes to instant portraits, great things happen when you get creative.

Which instax is best for your lifestyle? Check out the colours and features available in our full instax product line.

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Photo credit: bryattbryant

Topics: Instant Photography Tips

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