How to Master Portrait Photography

Portrait photography is one of the most popular types of photography. The focus of portrait photography is to capture the personality and look of the subject in the best possible light and quality. From formal portraits to candid pictures, there are a lot of portrait photography styles.

You can snap portraits of individuals, groups of people, and even animals. While it might seem like a simple thing to do, portrait photography demands one to know a lot of tricks and techniques before picking up a camera to take a good photo of a person. From getting the best poses out of your subjects to taking care of the lighting and shutter speed, you need to know how to control your entire scene. It takes time and practice to learn the art of portrait photography.

If you are just a beginner in the field of portrait photography, here are some tips to help you out.

How to Master Portrait Photography

Photo by Bess Hamiti

Choosing the Right Lens
First things first, you need to make sure you have chosen the right lens for your portrait photography. The lens you choose depends on the look you want to capture. If you are going to shoot some environmental portraits with the inclusion of some scenery, a 35mm lens is one of the best ones to use. If you are looking for good mid-range options when it comes to lenses, choose a 50mm or an 85mm lens. If you want to capture the portrait up too close, a 70-200mm lens will do the job.

How to Master Portrait Photography

Zoom Lens vs. Prime Lens
There are advantages of choosing both kinds of lenses. If you want a sharp look at the subject with a beautiful bokeh in the background, a prime lens is the best one. On the other hand, choosing a zoom lens gives you the flexibility of framing your shots the way you want. If you are shooting photographs of kids or pets, you should go with a zoom lens as they work great with moving subjects and give you more flexibility. On the other hand, a prime lens will work great for the subjects that are static.

How to Master Portrait Photography

Eyes Should be the Center of Focus
One of the best tips about portrait photography is to keep the focus of the picture in the eyes of the subject. You don’t need to put the entire subject in focus when you are doing portrait photography. And even if you do, make sure the eyes are captured sharp. The center of focus when you are shooting a portrait should be the eyes of the subject and you will yourself be able to notice how alive and striking the photograph will look.

How to Master Portrait Photography

Eye Level with the Subject
If the subjects you are photographing are small, like your pets or kids, it is best to get down on their level to shoot the portrait. The photos seem much more natural when you are at an eye contact level with your subject. This also gives your subject a flattering angle that makes their photographs seem natural and striking.

How to Master Portrait Photography

Go for Natural Face Expressions
Nothing ruins a portrait more than a forced facial expression. Therefore, when you are directing your subject, ask them to stay calm and natural. Try to know them on a personal level to get them more comfortable in front of the camera. Talk to them while you are shooting to keep them at ease. This will allow you to get the most natural expressions in the portraits, which is one of the best things you can do as a photographer. Talk them into the poses you feel would highlight their features and we promise you’ll do great as a portrait photographer.

Check out our other posts on Tips for better portraits and How to take great portraits.

 

About the Author

Edin Chavez
Travel junkie, animal lover, troublemaker, daydreamer and a bit obsessed with my camera. Addicted to documentaries, coffee, hot sauce, and blue cheese.
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