Portrait Composition

Jordan Armstrong
June 8, 2017

A good portrait makes for a great photo ceramic. Here are some pointers on different basic composition shots that make for the best portraits.

Extreme Close-Up Distance Photo

Extreme close-up

Tightly cropped to the face — This shot is usually seen in movies and comic books to convey the expression on the face. The extreme close-up is intimate and usually is not used for a Photo Ceramic

Close-Up Distance Photo


Showing face and shoulders — A close-up is a suitable composition for a photo ceramic. It is still quite intimate though, so it is best to make sure that the expression of the face is appropriate. A close-up works well if the rest of the photo needs to be excluded.

Medium Distance Photo


Showing upper-body and arms — For the purpose of a Photo Ceramic, somewhere between a close-up and a medium shot is typically the best option. A medium shot has the right balance of intimacy and presence for a portrait. Medium shots are good for couples' portraits as the appropriate amount of space is present to frame the subjects nicely.

Medium Wide Distance Photo

Medium Wide

Cropped to until above knees — As we move further from the face, the image becomes more about the surrounding area. Usually, we don't see photo composition on Photo Ceramics exceed a medium shot. If for personal reasons the customer wanted to include the background, a medium shot could be a suitable solution.

Full Distance Photo


Showing head to toe — This composition is most often seen in fashion photography as the scale of the focus causes the viewer to pay more attention to the clothing than the face. It may be suitable for when someone wants to show the person in uniform. Typically we advise against using this kind of composition as it becomes harder to properly show the face.

So, when in doubt plan for a medium or close-up composition, and try to take good photos regularly.

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