Photography style

How to take a great portrait photo?

2 MinutesThursday 28th, May 2020

We all love to take a portrait of friends or family, but how do you take a great photo?
Heres a few pointers on how to take a portrait photo.

Pose or Candid?

Asking the person you're taking a photo of to pose or just be and try to pretend you're not there and attempting to take candid shots is down to preference and also what you want the output to be. I personally try to capture more candid shots, which often look more like they're posed.

Focus on the person

Make sure to put the main focus of the photo on the person or people in your portrait. They are the "subject" of the photo as it were, you want them to be comfortable and show some kind of emotion to capture them or the moment. The person should also be well lit in the photo, but not over exposed.

Choose the right location

When taking a portrait, it's important to consider the location of where you might take the photos, what might be in the background?

It's also important to consider the lighting, taking photos outdoors in natural light is great, but you need to consider the weather and avoid shooting in direct sun light for best results. Indoors you have more control over the lighting, but this can mean more planning and more equipment, such as backdrops and lighting.

Blur the background

Blurring the background, will bring the person in the photo to be the main focus and stand out more. Many photographers use this technique and can be achieved by setting a low aperture for example f1.8, the lower the number will increase the depth of field and therefore create more of a blurred background. You can also use the aperture priority mode setting which many cameras have.

Choose the right lens

Your cameras lens is an important factor, some lenses provide more range of aperture, some allow lower aperture which allow for more depth of field. If the background is important you might want to opt to use a wide angel lens to show more of the surroundings. A prime lens is also a good choice, many people go with a 50mm, this is down to preference and what you're trying to achieve. I would recommend going and trying out, borrowing or renting a few lenses to try out.

Meet the author

Tom Howard

Tip by Tom Howard

Tom is an up and coming photographer, who loves to go out on photography adventures with friends and family when he can. He's a full time software engineer by day for a technology company in Brighton and the founder of Snaphints.

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