Forget the eyes
Vary your point of focus and draw attention to different parts of your subject’s face or body
I’ve worked out of a series of nos. No to exquisite light, no to apparent compositions, no to the seduction of poses or narrative. And all these nos force me to the ‘yes’ Richard Avedon
It’s one of the most important rules in portraiture: the eyes must be in focus. It doesn’t matter if everything else dissolves into blur, as long as those pupils are pin-sharp (and many of us have experienced the disappointment of shooting a portrait we think looks great on the camera’s LCD, only to find out later that the eyes are slightly soft). The reason why they need to be sharp is because eyes are a portrait’s most important feature, and with any image, we focus on what is important. But on the other hand, who’s to say what exactly a subject’s most important feature is, apart from the person holding the camera? Why not champion a different facial feature instead? For an off-beat portrait, find an unusual angle and focus on another facial feature – perhaps the nose, the lips, the ears – or draw attention to a character feature like a body piercing, tattoo or scar.