How To Take Portraits With Limited Resources

Creating indoor portraits does not have to be complicated. You just need a model, a camera, and the tricks you will find out in this article.

Pick the perfect background

Why are we talking about background when learning how to capture portraits? Well, I bet that you are not aiming for a standard mug shot. When you create indoor portraits, you want them to be as creative as possible. This is exactly why background matters – because it can add to the dramatic effect of the portrait. When chosen correctly, it can come to emphasize the facial features of the model.

A safe rule is to blur out the background, so the portrait is in focus. Some tricks would be to pay close attention to the color palette and even use props like flowers for effect.

How To Take Portraits with limited resources

Know your camera settings

a) Aperture

The best portraits speak to the viewer. The expressivity of your model and the smart use of each camera setting will get you there. Aperture is highly important because setting it correctly is what will get you that blurry background. For a shallow depth of field, always use a wide aperture. Our recommendation is to set it somewhere around f/2.8-f/5.6. This will guarantee that the background is blurry and the model in focus. 

b) Shutter speed 

The standard shutter speed setting for portrait photography is 1/200 of a second. Of course, this can vary and you should change it according to your lens choice and other settings.

Keep in mind that if you are taking photos of children, who have the tendency to move a lot, you should make your shutter speed faster. 

c) ISO 

When capturing portraits, the only place where we want to see any blur is in the background. The model must be in focus, with a crisp clean smile. But for this to be possible, especially if you are shooting indoors, you should know to increase your ISO. 

It can go as high as 1200, 3,200, or even 6,400. Yes, this means that you might get a grainy aspect to your picture but also that the face of your model will be in focus and that you will get a clean portrait. 

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Talk to the model

Let’s bring our attention to the most important element of an indoor portrait – the model. You should know that outer beauty is not as fascinating as inner beauty and this also applies to photography. And here is the challenge with portraiture – as a photographer, you have the mission to make your model glow and express his/her qualities.

Do not make your model sit straight or in weird positions without explaining your intentions. Talk about the concept of your shooting beforehand and let the model share his/her insights on the subject. You will come up with amazing ideas together.

how to take portraits at home with almost nothing at all

Focus on the eyes

When you are shooting indoor portraits, do not be afraid to get closer to the model. Focus on smiles, focus on gestures, but most importantly, focus on the eyes. They bear the life story of your model and they have the capacity of giving life to any picture.

how to take Portraits at home

Try out different angles

Whenever asked about how they shoot an indoor portrait, a regular photographer will say looking straight at the subject. Well, that’s just one way to go. You should know that the angles give you a ton of opportunities.

You can make your model look slimmer, smaller, bigger – it’s all about how and where you choose to sit. Do not limit yourself to one angle. Look up at your subject, climb on chairs, get to the floor, you name it. Give yourself this challenge: take 10 shots of a subject from 10 different angles.

how to take portraits photos

Do not forget to edit

Editing plays a vital role in creating outstanding inside portraits. You should also use editing even when you want to create a more natural look. To ensure a natural, no makeup portrait here are some Photoshop skin retouching brushes.

It does not matter the theme you chose or the atmosphere you want to create, editing should always play a major role in your creative process.

Editing does not have to be expensive or difficult. Use this FREEBIE and discover FREE Lightroom presets for portraits.

how to edit portrait photography

Great amazing portraits are easy to create when you pay close attention to all the details – starting with the background and ending with the eyes of your model.