Portrait photography is one of the most popular genres, and for good reason. Portraits can capture the personality and emotion of the subject, whether it be a loved one, a friend or even a stranger.
However, taking a great portrait isn’t as easy as point and shoot. There’s a lot that goes into it, from composition to lighting to timing. But don’t worry, we’re here to help. Check out our eight tips below on how to take better portraits.
1. Get close
One of the most important aspects of taking a great portrait is getting close to your subject. This not only allows you to fill the frame with your subject but also helps create a more intimate atmosphere.
If you’re using a DSLR or mirrorless camera, make sure to use a portrait lens. These lenses are designed for shooting close-up subjects and have a shallow depth of field, which helps blur the background and keep the focus on your subject.
2. Use a diffuser
Another important tip for taking portraits is to use a diffuser. This helps soften the light and eliminates any harsh shadows that can often occur when shooting in direct sunlight.
There are a variety of diffusers available on the market, from handheld ones to large studio umbrellas. Experiment with different types to see which works best for you and your subject.
3. Find the right background
The background of your portrait can be just as important as the subject itself. A busy or cluttered background can distract from your subject, so it’s important to choose a background that is simple and clean.
A good way to do this is to find a solid colour wall or backdrop. This will help make your subjects pop and ensure that the focus is on them.
4. Use natural light
Whenever possible, try to use natural light when taking portraits. This will help give your photos a softer, more natural look.
If you’re shooting indoors, position your subject near a window where they will be bathed in soft, natural light. You can also shoot outdoors in an open shade for similar results.
5. Pay attention to the eyes
The eyes are often said to be the window to the soul, so it’s important to make sure they are in focus when taking a portrait.
When composing your shot, place the subject’s eyes at the top third of the frame. This will help ensure that they are in focus and also help create a more pleasing composition.
6. Use a reflector
If you’re shooting in direct sunlight, one way to soften the light is to use a reflector. This helps bounce light back onto your subject and eliminates any harsh shadows.
There are a variety of reflectors available on the market, from small handheld ones to large studio umbrellas. Experiment with different types to see which works best for you and your subject.
7. Experiment with composition
When it comes to composition, there are a few things to keep in mind when taking portraits. First, the rule of thirds is a good starting point. This involves dividing the frame into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, and placing your subject at one of the intersections.
Another thing to keep in mind is leading lines. This involves using elements in the scene, such as fences or pathways, to lead the eye into the frame and towards your subject.
8. Use props
Props can be a great way to add interest to your portraits and help tell the story of your subject. Common props include hats, glasses, books and flowers.
However, be sure to use props sparingly and only if they add to the overall image. Too many props can clutter the frame and take away from your subject.
With these eight tips, you’ll be well on your way to taking better portraits. Just remember to have fun and experiment until you find what works best for you and your subject.