One of the great things about portrait photography is its variation.
Here’s what I mean…
I can take a portrait of my family in the backyard and then go to the beach for some candid shots of my son.
From there, I can create a portrait of a perfect stranger on the street, and then try my hand at creating some nice silhouetted portraits.
But despite the wide array of types of portraits, one thing remains the same (ok…several things): There are a number of fundamental rules of thumb, that, if followed, will get you better portraits each and every time.
From camera settings to composition, we’ve got 11 essential tips and tricks that will set you on a path to portrait photography success.
Let’s get to it!
Essential Camera Settings
Take Control of Aperture
Typically, large apertures (i.e. f/2.8, f/4) are used in portraits to get a nice, blurry background, as is the case in the image above. The larger the aperture, the shallower the depth of field, and the more separation there will be between the subject and background. In this image, you can see a large aperture was used to create a depth of field that keeps just the little boy in sharp focus.
One of the easiest ways to control aperture is to shoot in aperture priority mode (notated as A or AV on your camera dial). When in aperture priority mode, you select the desired aperture, and the camera selects a shutter speed that matches for a well-exposed image. Aperture priority also allows you to control the ISO, so if you find that the image is a bit too bright or dark, you can make changes to the ISO as appropriate.