Portrait photography is a unique and beautiful way to capture the personalities and emotions of your subjects. Whether you’re a professional photographer or just starting out, there are certain settings that can help you take stunning portraits every time.
In order to help you capture amazing portraits we have collected eight of the best tips / settings for portrait photography.
Use a lens with a wide aperture.
A lens with a wide aperture, such as f/1.8 or f/2.8, allows more light to enter the camera and creates a shallow depth of field. This means that the background of your image will be blurry, making your subject stand out and giving your portrait a professional look.
Use a low ISO value
ISO refers to the sensitivity of your camera’s sensor to light. The lower the ISO, the less sensitive it is, which means you’ll need more light to properly expose your image. This is important in portrait photography because high ISO levels can result in grainy, noisy images.
A good range for outdoor portraits with natural light is from 100 to 400 ISO. IF the weather is cloudy you can also go up to 800 ISO in order to ensure that your photos will not be blurry due to motion blur.
Check your shutter speed
Shutter speed is the amount of time that the camera’s shutter is open to let light in. For portrait photography, a moderate shutter speed of around 1/125th of a second is generally the lowest speed you can use for sharp results. The ideal shutter speeds though are at least 1/500 or 1/1000. These shutter speeds will allow you to capture sharp images without causing motion blur.
Focus on the eyes
The eyes are the most important part of a portrait, so make sure to focus on them. You can do this by using your camera’s autofocus mode, or by manually focusing on the eyes using the focus points on your camera. Also remember to focus on the eye that is closer to the camera if your model is looking slightly sideways.
Use a tripod.
Now this might sound controversial but a tripod can help you take sharp, steady portrait shots, especially if you’re using a long lens or shooting in low light. It will also allow you to take your time and carefully compose your shots, which is important in portrait photography. This is why you may have noticed that in many studio portrait sessions photographers use tripods, especially with longer and heavier lenses.
Try different angles
Experiment with different angles to add interest to your portraits. Shoot from above, below, or at a diagonal to give your images a unique perspective. Use a wide lens and try to shoot men from below to make them look epic and larger than life. Also try to shoot portraits of women from a slightly lower position from their eyes, something that will allow you to make them look more impressive.
Start by using natural light
Natural light is often the best light for portrait photography. It is softer and more flattering than artificial light, and can help you create beautiful, atmospheric images. If you’re shooting indoors, try to use as much natural light as possible, and if you’re shooting outside, consider the time of day and the direction of the light to get the best results.
Now don’t get us wrong: we love shooting with flash as well but that requires some technical knowledge and great understating of how light modifiers work so it’s better to start shooting with natural light and work your way up from there.
Slightly underexpose your photos
Try to use the Exposure Compensation +/- EV button on your camera and underexpose your portrait photos for -0.7 stops. This will give you some amazing benefits during editing. You will be able to use photo editing software in order to have a better control of the exposure, contrast, and color of your images to bring out the best in your portraits. Don;t forget though that you need to be shooting in RAW format for the best possible results.