By Mike | 19th June 2013

Basic portrait photography tips for beautiful canvas prints

One of the most popular reasons for purchasing canvas prints is to display pictures of family members, or other loved one, in the home. The process is really easy, but some people may have the idea and then realise that none of the photos they already have are quite what they’re looking for when it comes to having them printed.

Often, you can crop and trim an image to get the final portrait that you want, but if not, or if you want to have a go at pretending you’re a pro-photographer, you can take some photos for the specific purpose of canvas printing. Here are our top basic tips for taking a great portrait that you’ll be proud to display or give as a gift.

  1. The rule of thirds - this rule is observed by most professional photographers; imagine that the picture you’re about to shoot is split into thirds, horizontally, and make sure you take the picture so that the subject's eyes are in the top section, or third, of the picture. This will ensure that your picture is balanced and that the focus is drawn to the most important element of the face.

  2. Take it on the chin! For a flattering photo, ask your subject to tilt their chin down slightly... but keep it natural, you don't want them to look like they're pressing it into their chest!

  3. You've been framed! You don't want lots of dead space in the portrait, so make sure you fill the image with your subjects lovely face - it's all about them, not the background.

  4. Texture talks - although you want the face to be the focal point of the picture, it will add a little something if the small amount of background that does show has some texture. Flat, plain backgrounds are fine if you want a minimalist feel, but taking the shot against a tree, a brick wall or some other interesting texture will add a bit of depth, while drawing attention to the face too.

  5. Keep it light - as an amateur photographer, you're unlikely to have studio lights and fancy gadgets to hand, so think about how to get the best image from your natural surroundings. Daylight can work well, but you need a bright day, or the dull sky will reflect in the quality of the portrait. If you're indoors, try to position your subject so that you can utilise the light coming in from the window, or try different rooms so you can play around with main lights and lamps. Remember that different lighting will cast different shadows, so try lots of different things to get the effect you want – and don’t stand your subject right in front of the window, or you’re likely to end up with a silhouette!


These are some good, basic tips to help you secure some great portrait images for your canvas prints. Next week, we'll look at some more creative ideas for you to play with!

If you've already got some portraits that you're considering having printed onto a canvas, but the composition isn't quite right, remember that we're happy to help you to crop and resize your photo and make sure it's just right!


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