Tips for portrait photography
Get great portrait shots of your friends and family
Portrait’s of friends and family are a staple of any photo collection as they help preserve precious memories of the ones you love. Getting portrait’s right can be difficult, so here are some handy tips to help you along.
For really flattering natural light, take your shot outside or position your model by a window. If this is not possible, then use a desk lamp or your camera’s flash to light your subject. When using pop-up flash, place a piece of white paper in front of it to bounce the light, otherwise it could appear quite harsh and unflattering. If parts of your subject’s face are in shadow use a reflector (or piece of card covered with tin foil) to bounce the light back into the dark areas.
The optimum settings for portraits are a wide aperture, fast shutter speed and low ISO. The wide aperture (low f-number) will create a shallow depth of field. This will reduce the background to a creamy blur, making your subject stand out in the frame. A fast shutter speed will prevent any blur from appearing in your image if your subject moves. The low ISO will ensure you get a grain-free image, but can be raised if your shots are too dark. Also be sure to focus on the eyes of your subject, as they are the window to the soul.
The position of your subject in the frame is very important. Try using the rule of thirds, and place them off-centre in the frame. Always shoot from eye-level or a high angle, as this will be more flattering for your subject. Make the photoshoot a fun experience, engaging your subject and making them laugh. This will help you capture natural, non-forced smiles. You can also try capturing candid moments for even more natural shots.