- Advanced Portrait Photography Tips That Will Immediately Make Your Photos Better
- Portrait Photography Tip: A Guide to Backdrops
You might be surprised how easy it is to take more professional-looking portraits.
Armed with the right gear, camera settings, and composition tricks, you can turn your so-so portraits into something more spectacular.
With that in mind, here's a short list of tips from the pros of things you can do to improve the quality of your portraits.
Make the Model Comfortable
Whether you're photographing your brother or a model that does it for a living, you need to build rapport with the person you're photographing.
The more invested you are in the model as a person and the more you get to know them, the more comfortable they will be in front of the camera.
And that comfort level will show up in the photos you take!
So, ask the model questions, crack a few lame jokes, ask how they're feeling or if there's anything you can do to make the experience better for them.
In other words, strive to build a relationship with the model instead of simply treating them like something to photograph.
Use a Professional Background
When taking portraits, sometimes it's hard not to be so focused on the model that you forget about the background.
That's a big no-no because the quality of the background can make or break the shot.
Using a professional backdrop for your portraits solves that issue. And don't think it's an expensive solution, either.
Click Props is my go-to company for portrait backgrounds for a variety of reasons.
For starters, they're affordably priced, so even if you're an amateur photographer that's dabbling in portraiture, you can get a high-quality, professional backdrop without breaking the bank.
Secondly, Click Props has a huge selection of backdrops in a variety of styles, so you can get a backdrop that suits your specific tastes and your photography style.
These backdrops are incredibly easy to set up, too.
There's reinforced grommets every 12 inches along the top of the backdrop, so you have more than enough points from which to hang the backdrop for a clean, even look with no folds or wrinkles.
And when the photo shoot is over, simply roll the backdrop up, slide it back into its clear plastic sleeve, and store it out of the way until the next time you need it.
Click props even has different floor grounds if you need them, and their backdrops come in a variety of sizes to fit just about any sized space as well.
At the end of the day, the model is the star of your portraits, but if you put them in front of an unsightly or distracting background, it won't matter how good the model looks - your portrait will fall flat.
If you want the complete portrait package, you need a better background, and on that front, Click Props can deliver!
Think About Shutter Speed
While the aperture you use is important because it is one factor that determines the depth of field for your portraits, don't neglect the shutter speed.
When selecting a shutter speed, you not only need to factor in its role in getting a good exposure, but also its role in getting a sharp image.
If you choose a shutter speed that's too slow, the likelihood of getting a blurry portrait is increased.
So, you need to take measures to prevent that.
When choosing a shutter speed, use the focal length of your lens as a guideline.
So, if you're shooting with an 85mm lens, the shutter speed needs to be 1/85 seconds or more.
When using a 50mm lens, the shutter needs to be 1/50 seconds or more.
In other words, whatever the focal length of the lens is, the inverse of it is the minimum shutter speed you should use if you want a sharp photograph.
Be Creative With the Composition
Most portraits seem to be very similar with regard to their composition...
The photographer stands back aways, frames up a half-body shot, has the model look at the camera and smile, and presses the shutter button.
But portraiture can be much more unique and interesting. All you need to do is get creative.
Try shooting from a low or a high angle.
Shoot through something, like a plant or the branches of a tree, in order to frame the model's face.
Try a faceless portrait or a silhouette to give the image a little more artistic flair.
The point is that your portraits are limited only by your creativity. Experiment with composition, and you'll find that the portraits you take look much less like amateur work and much more like something taken by the pros!