Simple Tricks While Taking Portrait Photography

People often comment that taking portraits with the camera remains one of the challenging features of still photography. A factor that stands apart during the portrait shoot is the enormous difference in quality that stands between a professional effort and an amateur one. From the light that lights up the background to the manner the subject is made to feel on the print, the dynamics of the portrait are all decided by the photographer most of the time.

Often a top branded camera can make still pictures come alive but with the portraits, it takes more than simple skill to execute a well done photograph. The Camera plays one of the least significant of roles in the whole system.

Exposure compensation

A feature found on all DSLR cameras as with the traditional ones, the exposure compensation is something that is the least understood among the settings.  The automatic exposure does take care of the usual exposure limits but when the rather extreme of shades like the pure whites and dark blacks are being introduced to the view, it takes a bit of manual compensation to know how much of the exposure works just right.

For the most parts, exposure compensation is done by the more experienced of photographers and after having mastered the element of light in a picture as far as possible. It is possible to make a huge difference to the presentation with the proper compensation done to focus the right image.

Aperture setting

The normal practice with setting aperture with the camera is to bring in the depth to the picture.  Most portraits are often with little depth as compared to a longer shot or scenery. Thus the usual practice is to disable the aperture setting and to proceed with a manual effort to have just the right amount of light and depth to the exposure.

Despite the need to set the wide aperture setting, most cameras of the present age have the preset positions and they are as good as any for taking a few of the portraits. It is possible to be creative with the aperture and it helps to add unseen depth to the picture most of the time.

Using the ISO

At the most basic level, the ISO setting has come from the age of films being used in cameras. It is the ISO setting that decides the amount of matter that has to be packed into unit area of the film. The digital cameras have a variable ISO as compared to the more or less limits of ISO that applies to the traditional ones in use.

That the ISO settings have been put to use effectively to create depth of picture and to maintain details otherwise lost to the viewer. A large ISO measure can ensure that it is possible to zoom in the pictures beyond a point on the prints.

All said and done, portrait photography is but an art that gets better with practice. Even digitization has not been able to dent the need for experience and time spent with the camera taking pictures.

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Posing Just Right For The Portrait Photograph

People that do portraits on photograph often comment on the difficulty in getting a model to look the best when it comes to turning out good portraits. There are a number of factors in a particular day that could influence the model and some of the more relevant ones have been outlined below.

The Rapport

In the very simple terms, the rapport is what is established between the photographer and the subject matter in a photograph. Some photographers have favorite models that tend to open up when put behind the camera. It has to be certain chemistry most of the time. As far as Tree service Ipswich rapport with every client is very important so as to establish harmonious relationship throughout the project.

The so-called chemistry works both ways. Firstly between the model and the photographer and secondly between the photographer and the subject being snapped up. Most of the professional models have had years of experience before the camera and thus they would not be put off due to any particular reason.

At the same time, some photographers make the subjects totally relaxed and in control behind the camera that some of the best looking prints are churned out. So in effect, it is a two-way street and if there is a photographer/model pair that has just the right bit of cohesiveness, then there is no beating the combination.

Getting the lighting right

The light that is projected onto a photograph is what essentially brings to life what would normally have been a drab picture. Thus the expert shooter must be good at bringing to life not just the subject but the immediate surrounding that forms the background of the photoshoot.

It is possible to be creative with the light and how it is presented onto the subject. In fact, some of the better snaps are those that narrate the relation between the light and its effects on the subject. There are some fancy gadgets and aids that aim at providing some of the most powerful of presentations possible. Light and its effects are but factors that can be controlled to a large extent thus controlling how the picture turns out to sight.

The importance of technique

In the short term description, the technique is but the art of getting a photograph as the photographer has intended it to be. This is but a mixture of a whole range of products like light, background, props, and the likes. A technically able photographer would be able to turn out masterpieces even with the least of equipment to support his efforts.

The technique is important in that when all matters remain the same, it is the technique that separates out the better pictures from the mediocre.


From the above, it would be evident that there is more to portrait photography and to photography than mere capture of images. How the images are rendered on the celluloid or digital medium depends on the skill set of the person wielding the camera and it does play its part in making a picture presentable for the most parts.

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The Camera Element In A Portrait Shoot

Few folks understand the importance of the camera in a photo shoot. The camera is best a mechanical picture capturing device most of the time, it is a tool that yields results once used the proper manner. Photographers refer to a number of parameters when it comes to the design of the camera and they can be listed out in the below.


At the most fundamental level, the aperture is nothing but the opening through which light enters the camera. There is an interesting “f” number that is used to describe the setting of the aperture of any camera. The larger the f number, the more widely open is the aperture of the camera.

A narrow aperture would mean a lesser f number and in turn produces depth to the picture. In the case of portraits, there really is very little that depth has to do with the exposure and hence the typical short distance shoots are done with the wider aperture settings.

Another interesting feature of using the aperture is to blur out the surrounding of the picture leaving the viewer with just the main subject alone focused in the center.

Focusing the camera

The modern day digital cameras come with an auto focus function which focuses on to the subject at the center of the field of vision. Often in professional level photography, it is never that the focus be centered at the center of vision of the lens but towards a side of the picture as often is the case.

Some of the advanced digital cameras do have the facility to focus to the side of the subject and on an area designated by the shooter. Multiple focus points too have been tried out to good effect too most of the time. It must be said here that the focus point must be so chosen to get the subject to appear the most alluring. In large blowups the focus point is shifted to within the main picture to achieve the desired effect most of the time.

Film feed of the camera

With the latest of cameras going in for automated film feed that ensures that the film is fed into the camera as it is getting used up, there is little by way of a delay between shots. This helps in many situations where such a rapid exposure is needed to be done.

When using a motorized film feed, the chances of the film getting stuck in the camera does not arise. Moreover it is possible to shoot off a string of exposures done in quick time too.  


It is indeed doubtful that such a thing as a perfect camera exists in reality.  But each photographer tends to pick up a piece that suits his requirements more than any other’s.  With the kind of flexibility on offer the camera is one of the most unpredictable of features to be borne on the photographer. It is a mistake to consider that technology and the innovations have made a huge difference but it is at the end of the day the person behind the camera.

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Posing for a Headshot

Professional headshots are used for all kinds of reason, from putting together a portfolio for modeling/acting to corporate headshots that appear on website or company promotional material. Good headshots are among some of the hardest photographs to take. Posing for a headshot can make your subject feel uncomfortable and self-conscious.  What separates a mediocre portrait photographer from a great one is their ability to make the client feel comfortable enough to take a good picture.  Let’s look at how you can make that happen.

Let them Know Ahead of Time What to Expect

When people know what to expect ahead of time they are far less nervous when the time comes to get their pictures taken.  Some people are incredibly uncomfortable in front of the camera at the best of times.  You can run through your process and what you need from the client, it makes the shoot go easier when you are both prepared.  Here is an idea of what you can tell your clients.

Get to Know Your Subject

When your client comes through your door take the time to get to know them.  You can take five minutes of your session to ask about their day, their work, their family or anything else.  Take the time to explore the reason they are there to get a headshot done, is it for a portfolio or corporate headshots.  Listen to what they have to say and what they need before you pick up your camera.  Watch their body language so you can take cues on when they relax and when they are getting nervous.  Establishing some rapport with your client will help you take more natural photos.

Helping them Pose

For someone that hasn’t done extensive modeling then posing can seem the most unnatural thing in the world and it that is the time that your client starts getting uncomfortable.  Keep talking to them as you take pictures to help make them feel at ease.  Depending on the style of headshot you are taking your client may be sitting or standing.  Portfolio pictures give you a bit more leeway for creativity than corporate headshots.  Corporate headshots are usually done in the studio with the client sitting down.

The key to getting a good portrait or headshot is making your client feel comfortable and relaxed.  Once your client feels comfortable with you then you can grab the perfect headshot both you and your client can be proud of.

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How To Make Portraits Shoots Powerful

A camera is but a collection of functions and it takes the right mix of the facilities to ensure a good photo shoot. Portraits stand out in that they try to focus attention on a single subject as opposed to the scenic shoots or otherwise. It is possible to manipulate the portrait shoots to within certain performance criterion by choosing elements of the camera that are suited to the requirement.

The Lens

It is the lens that acts as the eyes of the camera. They are used to create the right focus and the right texture to the prints most of the time. The lenses are one of the most costly aspects of the camera as well and it is a good photographer that tends to try to use the best available ones on the market. Most pictures and their qualities do depend directly on the quality of lens in use at each instance.

The modern lenses have a host of features built into it and it goes without saying that the simple construction is what would help out the photographer for the fact that there are those much fewer variables to consider while on a shoot.

The use of telephoto lens must be avoided with shoots that are near the subject as far as possible. This is because the lens tends to distort the lines of light at the edges of the glass exterior.

Creating the compositions

When taking pictures of the inanimate figures, it goes without saying that the photographer can take his own sweet time at it. Portraits are completely different in the sense; the subject would only hold the line for a few seconds at most. The professional photographer must be able to bring out the best in the model in such a short time frame.

The most sought after cameramen have hit on the secret formula to taking great photographs in real-time. They do not need extra time or effort to create some of the most alluring of compositions. It takes years of experience alone to be able to create compositions like those seen in the billboards and such promotional matters from time to time. 

Finding the rapport

It is the fine relationship that develops between the photographer and the model that is said to be the rapport.  In other terms it can be said to be the chemistry between the two. Camera men who have managed to have the right look to a model or subject would always have the rapport just right all the time.

A good camera man must be able to put at ease the model and get the subject to provide just the right life and vigor to a shoot. Often the camera man hides the lack of rapport by using color schemes and props that take away the soul of the pictures.  A good rapport is established between the shooter and the subject and no amount of training can impart this part to a photograph.

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How to Take a Good Portrait?

People are under the impression that portrait photography is easy, all you need to do is get the subject to sit there, point the camera and shoot.  That is how you end up with some really bad portrait pictures.  Taking a good portrait photo isn’t easy, you need to be able to adjust the lighting, position your camera and still work with your subject.  Just consider the difference between a portrait on a magazine cover and your grade school pictures.  If you want to learn how to take a good portrait photo then read on.

Be Careful with the Background

The background of your photos makes a huge difference in the quality of the pictures.  A background that is too busy is just distracting, ideally you want a background that will reflect light.  Use the background to create contrast, that is something you see quite often in glamour portraits.  Professional headshots that are done for modeling agencies have a monochromatic background and portraits for business people often are just the natural environment, which brings us to the next tip.

Candid Pictures are Better

You remember those awful pictures you used to get in grade school?  Half the problem with them is that they were posed, corporate headshots are almost as bad.  Even when you are doing portrait pictures in a studio you will still have to make your subject look and feel natural and relaxed.  Take as many pictures as you can and you may be surprised at which ones turn out the best.

Light is Your Friend

Light is everything in photography and portrait photography is no different.  Soft lighting tends to work best, while bright lighting can make your subject looked washed out.  If you try taking pictures with your subject standing under direct sunlight you will see exactly how it can ruin a picture.  While you can always use a program like Photoshop to edit your picture sometimes they just can’t be saved.

Don’t Rush

Digital cameras can store as many pictures as your digital camera will allow so take a ton of pictures.  This gives you time for your subject to relax and for you to get the perfect shot. You may spend more time looking through the pictures afterwards to find the right one than you actually did taking the pictures.

Taking good portraits is an art, that’s why good portrait photographers are in high demand and command high prices.  Find a willing model and practice as often as you can.  It will help you learn different styles and techniques to finally perfect your art.

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