Taking perfect portrait pictures

Pictures of people are a staple of the design community, and play a part in many projects - from simple head shots to more sophisticated lifestyle imagery.

While some are bought in as stock, others are specific images that need to be shot, and many creatives regularly find themselves either commissioning a professional or - when the budget's tight - more likely taking the pictures themselves.

And nowhere is the expression "Garbage in, garbage out" more true than photography. It doesn't matter how skilled you are with Photoshop, you need a decent picture to start with. You're never going to be able to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

But as you've probably discovered, taking quality, interesting, usable pictures of people is not as easy as it looks - which is why talented snappers such as Bailey and Rankin command the telephone number rates they do. And it's money well spent. The advantage of using a professional photographer is obviously that you can rely on their expertise as well as your own.

When funds won't stretch to a commission, though, you need to be able to come up with the goods yourself - often against a deadline. Over the next three pages you'll find expert tips on how to create perfect pictures of face and body at the capture stage.

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