When taking a digital photography portrait you don’t have to just concentrate on your subject’s face. When you think of portrait photography most people automatically think of a picture of a face, but portraiture is about telling the story of a person. You can do that by taking pictures of other body parts. Here are some ideas to help you think outside the box when you take your next portrait.

Usually when you take a portrait you focus on the eyes. You try to capture the light in the eyes because, after all, they say the eyes are the window to the soul. They can capture the essence of the person and let the viewers see a bit of who they really are. If you couldn’t capture the person’s eyes in your photograph how would that change the way you approached your digital portrait photography?

I like giving myself assignments and taking a portrait without showing the subject’s face is a way to stretch your creative skills. Doing something outside of the norm will really get you thinking about how to set up the picture and what exactly to photograph.

You can try photographing:

  • silhouette
  • back of head
  • other body parts (hands, feet, and so forth)
  • blurred image

When you photograph a person you should be trying to tell the viewer something about your subject. You’ll need to be observant. What does your subject do for a living? Does he work with his hands? If so, maybe you should take a picture of his hands. Is you subject a thinker? Try photographing the back of her head. Is your subject a dancer? Take some pictures of her feet.

What does the location of the picture tell you about the person? Try taking a picture using a narrow aperture. Instead of blurring the background include some of the location in the picture too. You can elaborate on the story you’re telling to tell by including props.

These suggestions may seem obvious, but how often do you do them? I’ve seen some powerful portraits online that don’t include the subject’s face. The next time you pull your camera out to do some portrait photography go ahead and take pictures of the person’s face like you normally would, but towards the end of the shoot think outside of the box. Try to get a picture that tells the story without showing the face. You just might come up with a picture that blows you away.