How To: Add Life to Portraits

Photographer Francesca Sara Cauli shares some ways to make fun people pix

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Cauli shot with a Nikon D700 and 80–200mm f/2.8D Nikkor ED zoom; exposure, 1/200 sec at f/7.1, ISO 320. For more of her work, visit 500px.com/francescasaracauli.Francesca Sara Cauli

Photographer Francesca Sara Cauli of Bologna, Italy, says that it’s easy to make fun, upbeat portraits: Just hang out with fun, upbeat people.

We know that’s not always possible. Luckily, her por-trait of Alma Gitanna here exemplifies other techniques for energizing your people pictures. Here are a few:

• Tilt the camera to throw the horizon line off-kilter. This can add a serendipitous kick.

• Shoot spontaneously, if not literally from the hip. As Cauli puts it: “My job is to be ready for every smile, expression, or colorful pose or movement when they occur naturally. If I try to force such moments, they never seem to happen.”

• Ask your subject to wear colorful clothing, if possible. “I asked Alma to wear bright red to underline her explosive personality,” says Cauli.

• Crop to simplify. By lowering the camera angle, Cauli erased most of the busy background. “Include only those details that help create mood and don’t distract from your subject,” she says.

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