Full length portrait in photography, allows you to show your subject in an entirely different way from the more classical, tighter, close-up compositions. The key difference from other type of portrait is to capture the wholeness of subject, while keeping the subject focused from the surrounding. Detail of facial expression will be less emphasized, however, it allows you to incorporate with the environment as background, be it indoor or outdoor. Additionally, it provides the freedom to explore stance, posing and body language.
The list of possible poses and variations on those poses is almost endless. The challenge to compose a full length portrait is how to creatively fill the frame. Below, I have highlighted 3 key points.
Firstly, subject does not necessarily restricted to standing position. Other poses that you may want the model can be sitting, lying down, or kneeling. Perhaps, the arrangement of your model’s limbs and the angle of shoulders and their position in the frame.
Legs can be straight or crossed, hands can go into pockets or behind the back and arms can be stretched out of folded. Other poses, like making use of wall or posts, and asking your model to lean against it. All this makes up good composition for full length portrait, conveying body languages in an outwardly expression. Whatever you decide to do with your subject contributes to the same factors for close up composition can have, that is detail of facial expression.
Secondly, challenge on creatively fill the frame depends on the relationship between your model and the background. When the composition is tight it is relatively easy to make the background incidental, but when you have the whole person featured it becomes more difficult. Beside engaging the use of depth-of-field for SLR camera, basic photographic composition still applies. Such as inclusive of the foreground, mid and background will impact the composition of full length portrait as an entirety.
The last one that you have to take into account of is the costume the model has to put on, in order to feature an appropriateness with the selected background and theme. For examples, portrait depicting an Elizabeth era; your subject should not dress up in an 21st century fashion that totally not fit into the theme. Basically, this may be subjective because it also depends on what you intended to convey the message to your viewer.
In all types portraiture it takes time to establish your own style. With fewer conventions about this kind of portrait you are likely to feel a lot less certain, when you start to experiment, but most photographers quickly learn to enjoy the freedom presented by full-length portraits.
Image Credit: Flickr