- 3 Ways to Vastly Improve Your Portrait Photography
- Portrait Photography Tip: How to Get Quality Candid Shots
Let's face it - we're all looking for ways to create more beautiful portraits.
Of course, if you're like me, time is of the essence and you can't sit around watching YouTube videos and reading long tutorials all day long.
Instead, we all need some quick and easy (yet more advanced) tips that will improve our portraits.
That's where this list comes in...
Use a Background
Portrait backgrounds aren't just for the pros anymore.
That's because companies like Click Props make beautiful, professional-grade backdrops that won't break the bank.
This is good news for amateur photographers because no longer do you have to try to deal with ugly backgrounds or difficult lighting situations.
Instead, you can set up your backdrop, rig up the lighting just how you want it, and create more professional-looking portraits.
And don't think that using a portrait backdrop is difficult, either.
Sure, it will help you advance the quality of your photos, but setup and takedown is quite easy.
Click Props backdrops have reinforced grommets every 12-inches along the top of the backdrop, making it easy to hang.
And when you're done shooting photos, you can simply roll up the backdrop and slide it in its protective clear plastic tube for easy storage. It's that simple!
Better yet, Click Props has a huge selection of backdrops - more than 200 - so you can find exactly what you want to help you express your artistic vision.
They even make different sizes of backgrounds and have floorgrounds, too, that way you can completely customize how your portraits look.
If you're serious about improving the quality of your portraiture, investing in a beautiful background is the way to go.
Don't Force Them Into a Smile
One thing that you see in more advanced portrait work is an emphasis on the model looking more natural and even candid.
That's in contrast to more heavily posed photos in which the model is forced to smile and look at the camera.
Don't get me wrong - there's a time and a place for posed portraits of smiling people.
But what really makes a viewer connect with an image is a real, genuine facial expression on the model.
The problem is that not everyone is comfortable in front of the camera, which means it's your job to help loosen them up.
Tell them a joke. Act silly. Ask them to think about a time when they had a lot of fun. If you're photographing a couple, have them whisper things to one another to elicit a smile or laughter.
There are dozens of different tricks you can use to get your models to relax, have fun, and give you more genuine facial expressions. The more you employ those tricks, the more pleasing the images will be.
Play With the Aperture
Aperture is one of the factors that influences the depth of field. All else being equal, the larger the aperture opening (the smaller the f-number, like f/1.4), the blurrier the background will be.
Typically, portraits benefit from a large aperture opening because the blurry background that results helps separate the model from the rest of the shot.
That is, the model is nice and sharp, the background is nice and blurry, so there's no mistaking what the focal point of the image should be.
But using a large aperture opening isn't a hard-and-fast rule for portraiture.
If you manipulate the aperture and shoot with a smaller opening (a larger f-number, like f/11) you can bring more of the scene into focus.
This is advantageous if you want to create more documentary or environmental type portraits, which show the relationship of the subject to their surroundings.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of advanced portrait photography tips that you can use to improve the quality of your portraits, but it's certainly a great place to start.
As we've discussed, each of these tips can be highly impactful, but don't require tons of time, money or effort to implement.
Sometimes the key to success is the simplest approach!