Portraiture is one of the main streams of photography and is something every photographer should have in their portfolio. Whether it’s capturing a few photos of friends or family to shooting a 300 person wedding or a cover for a fashion magazine, these tips for portraiture is extremely important and can improve your photo in any situation.
Find Your Perfect Background
With portraiture, the main focus of the image is the model, but your background is also just as important as it can take away from the beauty of the portrait. Choosing a simple background with colour that complements your subject for the best results, use anything from walls to trees to add some simple texture to your image.
Get To Know Your Subject
Before you start snapping photos take a second to get to know your subject, this will allow the model to feel comfortable with you and be more open to other ideas. Take this time to go over your shot list or specific photos you would like to capture, as well as walk around the area to see if there are any objects or background you will like to use. This will also help your photoshoot run a lot smoother as you both already know where your next photo is going to be.
Good Lighting Is Key
Every photographer will agree is that lighting is one of the most important factors in photography and is one of the first things a photographer will think about at a shoot. If you are using natural light, be careful to watch the direction of the sun, any harsh shadows that could affect your image and don’t forget your reflector!
Pick A Good Focal Length
In the camera industry, there are many different types of lenses available for different types of photography that help complement the style and perfect their images. For portraiture, many suggest a prime lens that is over 50mm. This will give you a beautiful background blur and ensure your subject face is not distorted.
Set Your Exposure For The Face
Setting your exposure to the subject’s face will ensure that the subject will not be under or overexposed. If you were to expose to another area in the image such as the background will cause your subject to be dark and cause difficulty when editing.
Focus On The Eyes
Focusing on an image determines what will be clear in the image and what is blurry. Beginner portrait photographers will focus on the face and find the eyes may look clouded. By setting your focus closer to the eyes will ensure they are crystal clear as well as hold the attention of your viewers for a longer time.
Shallow Depth Of Field
A shallow depth of field is where you adjust your aperture to let in more light resulting in the foreground and the background to become blurred. This will help emphasize your subject and help draw attention away from your background. You can learn this technique as well as many others with our Photo 101 class!
Watch Your White Balance
When photographing portraits your white balance will be one of your top priorities, as this will directly affect the skin tones in the image. This function can be found in the settings of your camera and will offer you different preset options based on the environment you are in.
Introduce Movement To Your Photo
While posing your subject instruct them to move around either by walking, moving their arms or any other body movement that will complement the image. A great idea is to bring so extra fabric or objects that you can throw around or use to pose with, this is a great way to let the model use their creativity as well!
Take Lots Of Photos
With digital camera’s we are no longer limited by the number of photos, we take and are now able to take multiple photos per second. During your shoots don’t be afraid to take advantage of this, take as many photos as you like. Tip: make sure you capture each position multiple times as people’s faces and bodies are always moving.