- A Beginner's Guide to Aperture Priority Mode and Exposure Compensation
- Best Camera Settings for Portrait Photography
- Easy Tricks to Take Your Portraits to the Next Level
- 3 Posing Tips to Immediately Improve Your Portrait Photography
- A First-Timer's Guide to Getting Professional Prints of Your Photos
- Tips for Printing Photos on Canvas
Image Credit: jeffbergen via iStock
We've all got experience taking informal portraits, selfies, and so forth, but what do you do if you want to step up your game and learn the fundamentals of good portraiture?
That's easy...just read this quick guide!
There are hundreds of portrait photography tips, which can be a little overwhelming, so I've boiled it down to just a few simple, straightforward beginner photography tips that will help you take portraits that look more professional and less like a rushed shot taken by an amateur.
So, without further ado, let's get started!
Portrait Photography Tips: Camera Settings
Image Credit: Morsa Images via iStock
Having a camera with manual controls is the best option for taking better portraits.
But don't let "manual controls" scare you...
You don't have to shoot in full manual to get great portraits. In fact, many pros shoot in a semi-automatic mode called aperture priority to take their portraits.
In a nutshell, aperture priority mode gives you control over the aperture and ISO while the camera controls the shutter speed, that way you only have two things to worry about instead of three.
It just simplifies matters and allows you to focus your attention on getting the right aperture for a beautifully blurred depth of field, as shown in the image at the beginning of this section.
Learn how to use aperture priority mode for portraits in the video above by Jana Williams.
Learn About Posing
Portraits in which the person is leaning gently against a tree are so overdone...
Rather than relying on poses that you've seen over and over again, do a little research and find new ways to pose the people that you're photographing.
Whether you're posing couples or friends, men or women, putting thought and effort into where the person is in the frame, what they're doing with their arms and hands, where they're looking in relation to the camera, and so forth can make or break your images.
Get detailed instructions on basic portrait posing in the video above by Julia Kelleher.
Beginner Portrait Tips: Don't Just Shoot From Eye Level
Image Credit: ArtMarie via iStock
While there's nothing wrong with taking a portrait of someone from their eye level, it doesn't exactly offer the most unique or compelling view of them, either.
Instead, try mixing it up a little and taking their portrait from an elevated position or one that's below the subject's eye level.
By shooting from above the subject, you make the subject look and feel smaller in the frame, as though you, the viewer, is in a more powerful or commanding position.
Image Credit: DGLimages via iStock
Conversely, if you take a portrait from a lower-than-eye-level perspective, you can make the subject look and feel more dominant or powerful in the image.
Of course, you don't want to take every single portrait from above or below the subject. If you mix these different perspectives together, you'll create a much more interesting and varied collection of photos of your subject.
Communication is Key for Learning How to Take a Good Portrait
Image Credit: MarioGuti via iStock
Just like the people you photograph shouldn't expect that you know absolutely everything about taking a portrait, you can't expect them to know everything about posing for one, either.
That's why communication is so crucial for creating the best portraits possible.
People are typically a little shy in front of the camera, so you need to encourage them, support them, and direct them so you can create a beautiful portrait.
Help them figure out where to stand, where to look, and what to do with their hands. Give them "warm fuzzies" when they nail their smile. The more vocal you are in making this a team effort, the more success you will find!
Don't Skimp on Prints
One of the worst things that you can do to portraits is spend all your time and effort in doing all the steps above and then settling for so-so prints when it's all said and done.
Though a great print of a terrible photo still results in a terrible photo, a terrible print of a great photo still results in a terrible photo, too!
It's easy to get sucked into the cheap way of doing things, but take it from me, quality matters when it comes to prints.
I spent more time and money than I'd like to admit fiddling around with cheap prints until I found the best printer out there - CanvasHQ.
I was extremely pleased with how my canvas turned out! Excellent quality, quickly shipped and packed well. I would definitely purchase again. - Eric M., Bonners Ferry, ID
What's great about these guys is that they combine the best of great prints with low prices and fast delivery. What's not to like about that?!
They use premium, fine-art production canvases, scuff and water-resistant inks, and kiln-dried wood to make their frames, all of which results in gorgeous, durable canvas prints for you to enjoy for years and years to come.
In fact, CanvasHQ has invested so much into the quality of their materials and perfecting their printing process that each canvas is backed by a 100 percent guarantee.
On top of all that, CanvasHQ is fast - I've made orders on a Wednesday and had my prints on my doorstep two days later.
But, again, don't think that because they're quick about their work that it's somehow subpar, because my CanvasHQ prints are spectacular and well worth the price of admission.
It's easy to forget about finishing the process of creating a beautiful portrait. But if you want to really impress with your photography skills, save a little time to make your portraits shine with a stunning canvas print from CanvasHQ!