Though portrait photography is a common field of operation for photographers, it still remains a big challenge. While some photographers possess the inherent talent to capture people in an appealing way, most photographers struggle to get the right balance in relation to posture, lighting, and making the subject respond to their setting. Here are 6 tips that guide you on the basics.
1. Camera Settings
• The first thing you need to begin concentrating on is the lens option. The settings and the number of people present will influence the lens choice. A wide angle lens is suitable for shooting a large group. For sharper images and low f-stop range, a 50 mm lens is more advantageous than a zoom or telephoto lens.
• F stop and aperture are related to the field depth. A low f-stop and wide aperture gives a shallow depth, while a small aperture and high f stop increases the field depth considerably. The former is favorable for portraits, so the background does not dominate the shot and serve as curtain backdrop instead.
• Exposure compensation is used to increase the brightness quotient. By setting the button to +1 stop, the lightness can be increased and darkened by setting it to -1.
2. Focus Settings
The shutter speed should generally be faster than the focal length of the camera lens or at least equal to it. The shutter speed setting and aperture choices can be enhanced by altering the ISO. This will compensate the movement made by the subjects or the motion blur. For indoor low light situation, the ISO can be increased from 400 to a max of 3200.
3. Composition Adjustments
Most photographers try to include as much as possible of the subject to get the right composition. To get a fresh and inspired composition, zooming in will do the trick. Moving the subject to one side of the frame and using wide apertures will give you more options to play with. But while experimenting with new ideas, ensure that the focus is precise.
4. Reflector Use
To brighten the portrait reflector is a nice choice. Both indoor and outdoor portraits develop well without shadows when you use the reflectors. You get silver, gold or white reflective surfaces. A plain white cardboard sheet too can act as reflector and it can be turned to silver by using a tin foil cover over it.
5. Subject Positioning
The way the subject poses or looks will certainly have a great impact on the results. Capturing a range of emotions or expressions will make it easy to edit later on. You can also take shots with the subject looking at different angles, off camera, up or down.
6. Shot Setup
You need to be prepared well before positioning the subject. In a studio, the settings can be done easily. But on location, you need to have the camera setup and take some trial shots before you start on the subject.
While taking portraits, you need to keep it as simple as you can. Complex settings can compound the problem and give you a hard time. Make sure the backgrounds are not cluttered and work in natural light as far as possible.