This essential resource will help you, whether you are a beginner or a seasoned photographer looking for new techniques.
These 77 techniques cover some of the most popular photography styles. You’ll find essential tips and tricks whether you’re looking to improve your portraits or learn how you can take better landscapes.
Tips and tricks for portrait photography
Tip 1. Tip 1. Focus on your eyes
Sharp eyes are a good choice for portraits, even though eye contact may not be desirable. You can manually position an AF point over the eyes of your model or use the central focal point to focus on their eye.
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Next, press the shutter release half-way to lock the setting.
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Tip 2. Tip 2.
Wide-angle lenses can be used to photograph people in specific situations. But wide angle lenses taken close up can distort facial features, creating unflattering images.
Standard lenses or a short-telephoto lens are better choices for portraits. For full-frame cameras, the classic portrait focal lengths are 50mm, 85mm prime lenses, and a 70 to 200mm zoom.
These will reduce the appearance of features and give a natural look.
Tip 3. Tip 3. Use the Aperture Priority mode
You can control the aperture and the depth of field (DOF) with Aperture Priority.
Fast prime lenses such as the 50mm F/1.4 or 85mm F/1.2 allow you to choose large apertures and shallow depth of field. This allows you to create professional-looking backgrounds with creamy-smooth edges.
You need to focus on the eyes when working with such a narrow range of sharpness. Otherwise, the portrait will appear soft.
Tip 4. Tip 4.
To take stunning portraits, you don’t necessarily need a costly home lighting kit – a window or a reflector are enough to create beautiful natural light images.
To open up shadows, position your model so that they are facing the window. Although the effect will not be as subtle, a silver reflector will provide a more crisp quality of light than one made from white.
You should also be aware of color casts caused by features on the opposite side of the glass. A lush green lawn can make skin look sickly, while a patio with lots of warm sunlight will reflect plenty of light.
Tip 5. High-key portraits
A photo can be over-exposed to achieve a “high-key” effect. This creates a delicate and light look that can enhance female portraits or pictures of children.
It is important not to overexcite the highlights on-camera but to brighten the shot later in software like Photoshop.
Raw files are more flexible than JPEGs and will allow you to get more detail from your images.
Tip 6. Tip 6.
Natural light is the best option for lighting baby portraits. Flashes will only spook them. You can position them close to windows and then use a reflector to shine light into any shadows.
For the best quality photos, you should get as much light as possible onto your subject.
Photograph a baby right after they wake up to capture their best moments.
You’ll see them more alert and active than other times of day. This will make it easier to capture the adorable baby portraits parents love.
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Tip 7. Tip 7.
It can be challenging to take photos of children. Make sure that your children’s portrait session is short and fun. You can play games with your children: asking them if they can see their reflections in the front of the lens is an excellent way to make eye contact.
Use a wide-angle lens to capture the moment without them looking up. Make sure they are comfortable with the shutter sound, and that they don’t have to look at the lens. Smile.
When they are still, like when they are concentrating on a toy, make the most of them. Talk to them like you would with an adult, and after you have taken some photos, show them the results on your LCD screen so they feel involved.
Tip 8. Tip 8.
You can take a portrait of a child or group, but you should set your camera to the fastest drive setting. While you don’t have to machine-gun the shutter release, it is a good idea to shoot in short bursts so that you can capture a wide range of expressions.
This increases your chances of getting a shot in which everyone is looking at you in a group portrait.
You can swap faces easily in Photoshop, even if you don’t get everyone’s eyes open or beaming smiles.
Tip 9. Tip 9.
When arranging group portraits, you will probably first consider your height. Place taller people in the back and smaller people at the front.
Be sure to pay attention to clothing. Contrasting colors can be easily overlooked if you are focusing on the height of everyone, which will make it more obvious in the final image.
You should use a wide-angle lens and an aperture of at minimum f/8 to ensure sharp photos. If you are taking indoor group portraits, however, you will need to use a high ISO to achieve sharp handheld photos.
The shutter speed might not be fast enough to capture sharp images, so photos may become noisy. The trick is to arrange everyone along the same focal plane. This will allow the aperture to not have to be as narrow.
Tip 10. Tip 10.
Consider how the arrangement of family members in a group portrait can tell a story about their relationship.
It is simple to put the focus on the patriarch or matriarch of your family or the new arrival. You can create a focal point by grouping the rest members of the family around them.
Furniture can be used to break up larger families. It could be a couch for indoor photos or a gate for outdoors portraits. Place the children on the furniture and ask the adults to stand behind it.
Tip 11. Candlelight portraits
If you want to take photos by candlelight, increase your ISO to 1600 or higher and use large apertures to capture any movement in the model, the camera, or the flames.
Use Manual exposure mode and turn off the flash on your camera. Turn off all lights and take a meter reading of your portrait-sitter. Then let the rest disappear into darkness.
Use more than one candle if you are planning to do a candlelit portrait shoot. It will increase the light available for exposure and allow you to spread the illumination to create soft shadows.