Portrait Photography Tips to Perfect the Perfect Shot
Whether your passion is indoor studio photography or outdoor family shots, portrait
photography is an art form which takes time, skill and experience to perfect.
The good news is that you can drastically improve the professional flair of your results by tweaking different individual elements. Here are some of our favorite tips:
1. Get the right camera
If you’re new to photography, upgrade your basic camera to a good DSLR as a starting point. If you are planning to do more than simply load selfies with loved ones onto social media, this will be a worthwhile investment.
2. Know about exposure compensation
To elevate the quality of your photographs, look at the metering system on your camera. This will calculate the amount of light that needs to flow inward for the right exposure. It’s extremely smart, but not entirely foolproof. Metering takes an average reading, which assumes a black and white mid-tone. It does tend to come out right, but if your picture frame has an area of extreme light or dark, you’ll do better with a manual adjustment. Correct this with the exposure compensation feature. Review and adjust further as necessary. You’ll really notice the difference.
3. Side-on shots
If your model is facing the screen side on, then one of the eyes may be blurred if you use a wide aperture. Try dropping down to 5.6 to maximize the sharpness and balance of each eye.
4. Review shutter speed
As a rule, your shutter speed should be higher than the effective focal length of your camera. So, at 200 mm you’ll want to be using a 1/250 second shutter speed at minimum. Remember to use the anti-shake system on your camera too. Some are built around the sensor, but those built into the lens allow you to see the effect in the viewfinder.
5. Image stabilization
If your lens has this technology, be sure to use it. It will give you incredibly sharp shots even when you shoot by hand and at low shutter speeds.
6. Choose your lens carefully
This will make a big impact on your portrait shots. Where you want visual impact, choose a wide-angle lens. You can also make the subject look taller by shooting from a low angle. This changes the perspective of the model and accompanying objects by fooling the eye. Don’t go too close though; distortion is never flattering! For extra drama in your wide-angled shot, tilt the camera slightly at an angle. Play with angles, props and lighting until you create the look and feel you are aiming for. Much of your success will come through time, experimentation and error!
Try these tips and see what effect they have on your photography results. Remember that photography groups, blogs, magazines and clubs are all a great way to share ideas, techniques, styles and technology finds, and you’ll also enjoy the sense of community.
Which tips have you found to be the most useful for your portrait photography? We’d love to hear back from you!