Over the years Hollywood accustomed us to certain look and feel of portraits. Here are Top 10 tips of how to improve and spice up your portrait photography game, from the perspective of Top Toronto Wedding Photographer. These tips are just a crush course and simple guidelines. We highly recommend that you experiment with lighting, composition and most important practice.
1. Don’t underexpose your portraits! Make sure you expose for the skin of your model. Some cameras can struggle when a frame that is dominated by areas of extreme brightness or darkness. If your camera has a spot meter use it. You can also experiment with setting you exposure manually.
2. Use shallow depth of field to separate model from the background. We like to shoot from f1.2 till f2.0 if possible. Try using Aperture Priority mode on your camera for best results and easy control.
3. Make sure your portraits look sharp. Always focus on the eyes of your subject. As a general rule, make sure your shutter speed is higher than your effective focal length. For example, at 85mm use a 1/160 sec shutter speed or 1/250.
4. Keep your ISO as low as possible. We the best results like we like to shoot from ISO 50 to ISO 400 maximum. In low light condition such as weddings use additional lights or you may need to increase your ISO to 1,600 or 3,200.
5. Use dedicated portrait lenses. We like to use telephoto lenses such as 85 mm 1.2 or 70-200 mm f2.8. These dedicated lenses enable to focus more on the subject and less on the background, eliminating and distractions. You also get the beautiful out of focus blur which is called bokeh.
6. Experiment with your composition. Look for unusual angles and background. Don’t be afraid to move closer to your subject to fill the frame. Change framing and introduce movement in your portraits.
7. If you like to shoot outdoor invest in a cheap reflector. We like to use them to fill-in shadows and brighten overall look of portraits. As an alternative you can also use flash but we prefer a more defused light that reflectors offers.
8. Don’t be afraid to tell your model/subject how to pose. Take your time to build a rapport. Offer some directions; tell them what you want from the them.
9. We usually don’t offer any tips what to wear during the photo-shoot but as a general rule stay away from bright colors or crazy patters. It’s a huge distraction and sometime introduces moiré in your images.
10. Experiment with lighting. Photography is about painting with light so keep that in mind.
We hope you enjoyed this short guide to Portrait Photography. Remember these are only guidelines and rules are meant to be broken. Keep these tips in mind and you will walk away from your photo-shoot with great portraits, but make sure to let your own ideas shine through.
by Avangard Photo Team