Do you know what a 3/4 portrait is? It’s one of the multiple head and body shots you can use when shooting portraits.
This article explains what are 3/4 shots and the difference with a 3/4 view.
It also covers the different crops you can do when photographing a person. Each one with multiple examples to get you inspired.
So once you know the basics of headshot photography, and let’s learn about the three-quarter portrait.
What’s a Three-Quarter Headshot? (3/4 Portrait)
A three-quarter headshot is a type of portrait where the crop is above the knees – around mid-thigh.
When you make a three-quarter crop, you can roughly divide the body into three equal parts. This makes it ideal for a rule-of-thirds composition.
It’s also a useful crop if the model is holding something in their hands, or you simply want to include the hands without having to bend the arms.
For these types of portraits, you should position the camera below eye level but above the chest. Something around the chin is ideal to maintain the subject’s proportions.
Regarding clothing, you should advise your client to use well-fitted clothes. As far as the posing, you should include one photo where they are looking straight at the camera with their arms relaxed on the sides. This might be useful for modeling agencies.
Any other pose you want to include in the portfolio depends on the needs of your client and your creativity.
You might find the term 3/4 portrait when referring to camera angles. Usually, this is known as a 3/4 view portrait.
This means that the model’s head is turned approximately 45 degrees away from the camera showing only three-quarters of the face. This is an alternative to a profile that shows more facial features.
Examples of 3/4 headshots
What’s a Half-Body Shot? (1/2 Portrait)
A half-body shot is exactly what it sounds like – a portrait where you capture half the body of the model. It’s not recommended to crop a photo on the joints – so, avoid cropping exactly at waist level. Instead, crop slightly above or below the waist.
This is a great crop, for example, to make landscape-oriented portraits. To avoid cutting the hands in awkward ways, you can pose the person with crossed arms, or play with their hair.
Examples of 1/2 headshots
What’s a One-Quarter Headshot? (1/4 Portrait)
A one-quarter portrait is cropped at mid-chest, slightly below the shoulder line. This is what most people picture when you use the word headshot.
If the person has long hair, ask them to put it behind the shoulders – this way it won’t look chopped. Clothing is less important as you mostly capture the head.
However, it’s important to consider the color of the jacket or top that they wear as well as the type of shoulder pads, straps, etc. For example, using a topless dress is not a good idea since it will appear as if they weren’t wearing any clothes.
Examples of 1/4 headshots
What’s a Full-Body Shot? (Aka Entire Body Shot)
A full-body shot includes the entire body of your model. If you do this type of portrait in landscape orientation, the background will occupy a big part of the frame.
Instead, shooting in portrait orientation is the most common in full-body portraits as the model covers almost all of the frame.
Form-fitting clothes are important in a full-body headshot because everything is visible.
To maintain the right proportions, you need to make the shot at chest height pointing straight at the subject. If you tilt the camera up or down, you’ll get different effects.
Examples of full-body shots
What Other Types of Headshots Are There?
While the four cropping styles I mentioned before are the most common, there are more options.
The most popular one is the close-up shot. With this type of shot, you can really focus on the facial expressions as there are no other distractions.
When you photograph a close-up portrait, you can focus on different things – maybe the eyes, the mouth, or even the eye.
It’s important that you learn where to crop. For example, you can get closer to the subject and cut the upper part of the head but leave the whole forehead.
On the opposite side, you can crop the lower part, but try to avoid the neck line. Otherwise, the cut will look too violent. Another point to avoid is the chin.
Another type of headshot puts the crop midway through the shin. This portrait is almost a full-body shot but it doesn’t include the feet.
Technically speaking, it’s just like shooting a full-body portrait, though. The camera should be at the same level, the posing and clothing are just as important as you show most of the body, etc.
FAQs on 3/4 Portrait Shots
How is a 3/4 portrait different from a Profile Shot?
A profile shot shows the subject from the side, highlighting the shape of the face. In this context, a 3/4 portrait is not referring to the crop. Instead, 3/4 refers to the angle of the head in relation to the camera. It means that the subject’s head is turned 45 degrees. This way, it shows three-quarters of the face, creating a sense of depth and dimension that is not as prevalent in a strict profile view.
What’s the best lens for shooting a 3/4 portrait?
Generally, portrait photographers use lenses with a focal length between 85mm and 105mm for 3/4 portraits. These lenses help create a flattering perspective without distorting the subject’s features and allow for a comfortable distance between the photographer and the subject.
Are there any special lighting considerations for 3/4 portraits?
Lighting can dramatically affect the mood and depth of a portrait. A common lighting setup if you’re showing 3/4 of the subject’s face is using Rembrandt lighting. This is characterized by a small, triangular highlight on the cheek under the far eye.
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