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English Script Request

Complete / 795 Words
by Keili -

How To Take Great Portrait Photos

If you're a keen amateur photographer, one of the photos you'll find yourself taking the most is the portrait. Friends, loved ones, pets - if it'll sit still for long enough, the chances are you've taken a picture of it. This guide will show you all the tips and tricks to make those photos great.

Step 1: Setting Up

There are a couple of simple guidelines to follow when setting up your shot that make a whole lot of difference.

Firstly, composition. You want to frame your shot so that the subject takes up most of the picture. Anything else in-shot is just a distraction, so frame it out. Try to use the rule of thirds to position your subject at the intersection of one of the three horizontal and vertical lines. These intersections represent the spots that your eye will be most drawn to.

Secondly, depth of field. As your subject is the most important thing in shot, and you don't want background to distract from it, you want to keep the subject in focus, and everything else out of focus. To do this, you need a short depth of field, which you can achieve easily by either moving in close to the subject, or using a long focal length, or lens with a large aperture. This is where a 45 to 200 millimetre Telephoto or an F1.7 20 millimetre pancake lens would be ideal.

Finally, check everything's set up correctly on the live viewfinder before taking the shot.

Step 2: Camera Settings

Larger apertures can also help to create a short depth of field - perfect for that nicely out of focus background. So, if you set your F-stock to a large aperture, you could consider changing your ISO setting, and you'll need to manually set the correct shutter speed - something like ISO 100 is great for photos when you have plenty of light. But you could always jump up to something like ISO 400 if it's a dark day, or indoors.

Once your aperture and ISO are set, don't forget to change the shutter speed to correctly expose the shot. If you're not sure about what shutter speed to use, put the camera in aperture priority on the mode dial, and then when you set the aperture, the shutter speed will be correctly set by the camera automatically.

An interesting tip here is to play with the camera's colour, brightness and saturation settings. Bleeding out the colour, or even going to full black and white, can give a really interesting, creative look to the shot. Alternatively, if you're not sure or you're in a hurry, set the camera to its 'intelligent auto' mode. This will automatically sort out all the different settings for you, as well as focusing in on the face and sorting out any handheld camera shake.

Step 3: People

You can have the camera set up for the perfect sure, but it won't do you much good unless you know how to get the most out of your subject. The most important thing here is to keep things light. A stressed out subject is going to look uncomfortable, which results in a bad portrait.

There are two ways to work with your subject: the posed shot and the natural shot. If you're posing them, talk to them first. Try and find out what parts of their body they're insecure about. It's a lot quicker if you both know from the off which bits the subject wants to hide. Try turning the LCD screen around to show how the shot looks, and how they should pose.

If you're trying to get a natural portrait, always remember to take your time - and take loads of shots. Not only will the extra time spent make the subject more relaxed and natural looking, but it will greatly increase your chances of getting a great picture; and, with all portrait photos, you should think about what makes the subject unique. Are they grumpy? Happy? Smart? Funny? Once you've worked out what makes them unique, try and capture that in the shot.

Step 4: Lighting

The final thing you need to think about is lighting. The effect you're aiming for is to have a soft, forgiving light on their face, that flatters them rather than highlighting imperfections. Remember that a perfectly flat lighting plan might look a bit boring, so keep a few shadows on the face.

Experiment with the flash and the room's lights to get the right look. But, if you're not happy with the results, then head outside. Natural light is always much more flattering. Just make sure that the sun is on the subject's face and not creating any nasty shadows.

Good luck!


Oct. 3, 2011

Thanks, very good job!

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