jCampers master art of mug shots
The mug shot is one of the fundamental concepts of journalistic photography. These student tips teach how the elements of lighting, low depth of field, and getting close to the subject are essential to taking a mug shot.
“Have subject face photographer with their right foot pointing at photographer, and left foot at right angle. The subject should look at the photographer with their nose in line with photographer. Further, the subject should raise his or her nose slightly. Photographer should set camera for low depth-of-field. The background should not distract from subject or be too busy. Make the person’s eyes the major focus of the mug shot.”
— Sue Gill
“To create a better mug shot you most direct your subject in the simplest words possible if you want them to do as they were directed. It is always important to have a simple background so that the eyes are drawn to the subject not the background. Sidelight on the subject’s face makes the details more vivid and adds contrast in the tones. It brings depth to the image.”
“As the photographer, you are in charge, not your subject. Pay attention to not only the person, but the background and the amount/direction of light as well.”