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The profile is used on banknotes, coins and postage stamps around the world, and is a classical approach to portraiture. Its defining characteristic is that the subject is positioned to reveal a side-view of the face and nose. Shape and strong features are important to the success of such images, and are used to depict personality. When framing this type of shot leave space in front of the face to give the image balance, and move around to see how features change shape. Profiles have the advantage of being less personal and slightly moody. Light tones suggest a happy, outgoing personality whereas darker images imply a more serious, introspective character. The biggest disadvantage of profiles is that communication is lost because eye contact is impossible.

Focus on the nearer eye, or possibly the bridge of the nose, and make sure depth of field is sufficient to keep key features sharp. Camera orientation can be vertical or horizontal. Both work well with an off-centre subject.


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