Give it a tilt! (Portrait photography composition)

In Portrait by Jim Harmer

composition in portrait photos

Portrait photography composition: Tilting

I've noticed two things when I give my clients photos from a portrait shoot.  First, they don't really care about the technical photography junk.  All they care about is whether or not they look good…and their definition of looking good is usually very different than my assessment of whether or not they look good.

The second thing that clients always look for is uniqueness.  Everyone wants to be “different” and “memorable” in some way or another.  A few weeks ago, I saw a teenage girl walking in the mall with flaming pink hair, all black clothes, black fingernail polish, and she was wearing rain boots while carrying a lunch pail.   While most of my clients aren't willing to go to such great lengths to look weird, we all want our photos to be somewhat unique.

I'd like to explain a cool way to achieve a unique composition for your portraits.  I often find that out of dozens of photos from a shoot, clients very often choose the composition that is intentionally tilted.  Tilting the frame of the photo gives the image a fun and unique look.  Clients often feel like no one else's photo will look like theirs if it has a unique composition such as this.

What do you think?  Have you ever shot a tilted portrait?  If you have, put it in our brand spankin' new flickr group!

About the Author

Jim Harmer

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Jim Harmer is the founder of Improve Photography, and host of the popular Improve Photography Podcast. More than a million photographers follow him on social media, and he has been listed at #35 in rankings of the most popular photographers in the world. He blogs about how to start an internet business on