Photography tips

Design a color palette for your portrait shots

You have to consciously design the visual look and feel of your portrait shots, and for this, defining a color palette helps. Using complementing colors when it comes to clothing, backgrounds, props, and even in post-processing can add to the overall impact of the portrait shots. Keep in mind your subject's skin complexion when choosing a color palette. Color palettes would also depend on the type of portrait photography you are undertaking. Family portrait photography images look great in warm hues and greens, whereas business portrait shots look impressive in dark blues and greys. If you are going to use a smoke bomb in your photography then make sure it is part of your colour palettes as most part of your shot will be covered in the smoke.

The background matters

The focus in portraiture, as expected, is on the subject model. However, there are more intricacies than just that. Sometimes, an interesting background can add a lot of drama to the photograph and help your subject stand out. In most cases, though, blurring the portrait background correctly can add more emphasis to the subject. So it is imperative to see how the background will turn out and to adjust the shutter speed and aperture accordingly.

Choosing the right lens for portrait photography

As with all photography, the camera lens is the most vital tool in catching the right shot. Again, there is no such thing as the best lens for portrait photography. It is up to you to decide which lens fits the scenario best. If you are going for a shot where the scenery or background is a crucial part of the picture, then it's better to use a wide-angle lens. A medium telephoto lens like 85mm or 105mm will enable you to strike a balance between your model and the background. If the photo is supposed to be tight, focusing on the subject only, then a 70-200mm f/2.8 telephoto lens is an excellent choice. It enables you to zoom in and focus more on your subject. You also reduce the amount of background and foreground distractions on display. If the photo is supposed to be tight, focusing on the subject only, then a 70-200mm f/2.8 telephoto lens is an excellent choice. It enables you to zoom in and focus more on your subject. You also reduce the amount of background and foreground distractions on display.

Learn how to use your camera

Portraiture photography, first and foremost, is about your artistic expression and technique, which takes a lot of practice to perfect. Once you start understanding the nuances of portrait photography, it's time to invest in a good camera and lens. There is no such thing as the best camera for portrayals, as most cameras nowadays can capture great portraits. It's a matter of understanding how to use them efficiently under different lighting and environmental conditions. Get a decent DSLR camera that would give you control over portrait photography settings and deliver sharp, high-resolution images in the RAW format that you can work on in post-processing. Check out a detailed guide in Photodoto for working with a DSLR camera for beginners. Experiment with camera settings so that you understand your tools and can use them to capture the best results. Also Read: Tips On Mobile Photography

Every Photographer Should Know

Capture emotions and expressions

Artistic portrait photography is all about finding emotions and expressions in portrait pictures. Getting your subject to emote is easier said than done. Make sure that you avoid fake smiles and blank looks. A genuine sparkle in the eye, a faint smile, a confident expression - these are the recipes for creating portrait shots that will shine. Work with your subject and give them time to get into the zone. Forcing or hurrying this process will not work.

Use a prime lens

For street photography, we recommend using a prime lens. Because prime lenses are a fixed focal length, they tend to be smaller in both size and weight compared to zooms. This makes them less taxing on the arms and more comfortable to transport. From a creative standpoint, a prime lens pushes you to think more about your photographs. Without the luxury of a zoom, you’re challenged to consider how close (physically) you should get to your subject. The closer you get (while still respecting personal space) the more emotion you can draw out of your scene. Emotion helps you create compelling photographs that your audience can connect to. Focal lengths between 24mm and 50mm are your best bet, both in quality and cost. Wide-angle lenses are perfect for producing photographs that have multiple narratives going on within the frame. Whereas a good “nifty 50” will allow you to create more intimate pictures and separate your subjects from their surroundings.

Take candid portrait photos

Getting subjects to pose can sometimes give less than optimal results. Some people are just not comfortable posing. This discomfort is particularly apparent in child portrait photography where posed portraiture images can come off as forced and unnatural. Getting your subjects comfortable and shooting them doing their usual, natural activities can yield fantastic portrait shots.

Tip: Using a longer zoom lens to step out of the immediate proximity of your subjects can make them lose the shyness or stiffness of being photographed.

Find the right location

The location you choose for the portrait shoot is going to be a significant influence on the final results. Shooting outdoors in natural light gives the best results but poses many challenges. You would need to plan according to the weather, time of the day, and changing lighting and environment conditions as the day progresses. Avoid shooting in direct sunlight as it produces harsh shadows and can make your subject to squint. Choose mornings or late afternoons when the sunlight gets diffused, and you get a lovely, warm, natural glow. You can exercise much more control if you are shooting indoors. You need to plan your portrait lighting arrangements properly to complement the mood of the shoot, model's clothes, and backdrops.

Getting the location right can save you a lot of trouble with fixing images in post-processing.

Focus on the subject

The subject is the most important aspect of portrait photography. Making the subject comfortable with you is an essential factor for a successful portrait photography session. Take out time to connect with your client before the photoshoot and, if possible, meet up in person. It is best to get to know each other and let the subject know more about your style of photography and what exactly you will be looking for in the shoot. Discuss your ideas about the shoot with your subject and factor in her preferences and abilities in your plan. Even if you are familiar with the person being photographed, people can get uncomfortable when they get in front of the camera. It is always a good idea to keep communicating with the model before and during the shoot.

Absolute Front-To-Back Sharpness With Focus Stacking

A common challenge in images with depth (commonly in landscape images) is the impossibility to get good sharpness throughout. This is more obvious if you focus on an object in the near foreground. The background will always be slightly out of focus even if you use the smallest aperture. A genius way to tackle this is to manually focus each distance of the scene separately and blend them together in post-processing (hence the name focus stacking). A tripod (or something to immobilize your camera) is required to keep the frames consistent. Starting with the foreground, turn the focusing ring on your lens until the foreground elements become sharp, take a shot. I recommend zoom in on your LCD screen while focusing because it’s easier to ensure the focus is sharp. Review the image on the LCD screen by zooming in the foreground. Gradually move upwards (into the distance) until you notice the image starts to lose focus. Take a note where this is in your image composition, refocus on this part with your lens and take another shot. Repeat this step until you finish with the image. Blend the images in post-processing. Boom! Sharpness throughout!

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