Photography Basics – Portrait Photography Tips

portrait photographyThe number one subjects when it comes to photographs are people as you find them everywhere. Individuals serve as fascinating subjects due to their peculiar nature and their unpredictable temperaments. You can find the standard party snaps, photos of children and vacation shots of family members etc. All these make for over billions of people photographs taken in a single year.

Liverpool photographer Angus Matheson considers portrait photography to be a bit different from general people photography. According to him “portrait photography’s intent is to capture as well as showcase the essence of a person by making the focus of the picture their character, life or personality”. In portrait photography, there are three important things that must be gotten right and they are camera setting, lighting and the relationship with the model.

Portrait photography camera settings

According to Liverpool photographer Angus Matheson, he prefers to make the person’s face the focus of the portrait photographs and if it is a wide shot, the head and shoulders can also serve as features. The classic portrait photography setting would remove any background noise or distraction that can draw away from the subject. This approach mimics the effect of gazing at a close up view of someone’s face thereby making the subject the focus of the attention.

The best way to achieve a portrait free from distraction is by making use of wide aperture. Wide apertures are known for producing field depths that are shallow and render anything far from the plane of focus as a blur. The other setting that needs to be taken care of is ISO as this should be as low as possible otherwise a high ISO will lead to digital noise which eventually leads to an ugly portrait.

Lighting for portrait photography

Portrait photography lighting can be as complicated as you make it or as simple as you like. It is better to partake in professional portrait photography within a studio as lighting can be easily controlled. Making use of the windows of the studio to position your model is the best way to get the right balance of light as the light should not be placed directly on the model. It is important to remember to attain a balance between fill lighting, hair lighting and key lighting to get the best flattering light scheme for your frame shot.

Interacting with your subject

The outcome of the portrait photography does not depend only on the lighting or camera setting but also on the rapport developed between the photographer and his subject. You can easily tell the type of relationship a photographer has with his subject by studying the picture. Unless professional models are being shot, the hardest thing to do is getting the model to be relaxed and comfortable enough to deliver poses that you are aiming for. A model that is self-conscious about the camera or uncomfortable in a particular position would not photograph well. A way to relax the model is by engaging them in conversation while you shoot as it takes their mind off the camera.

You may also like