Do you like to take selfies? Or do you like to pose? Or maybe you are the one who stands behind the lens? In any case, photography has now become popular. Everybody has smartphones, and every smartphone has a camera. So now it’s not even necessary to be a professional to shoot and show your photos to others.
Of course, if you already are a professional with a solid portfolio or your own photography website, you can scroll down and learn about the offer we have for you. Also, enjoy yourself with the portrait photographs we’ve collected.
But if you’re a newbie and want your portraits to look professional and eye-catching, you might be interested in what we have for you below. You should consider some factors which directly affect the quality and coolness of your portraits.
So, if you have a photo camera and desire to shoot portraits, here are a few things to think about.
What Lens You Should Use for Portraits
First, you might have decided that you’d like to buy a special lens for portrait shooting. But what parameters you should consider?
What should you know about the focal length?
Very simple. The short focal length lenses are good at architecture or landscape photography. You are standing quite close to an object, but still, it looks far in the lens. In other words, the angle of view is wide so that you can catch a beautiful scene, and it all will be clear and in focus.
But you don’t need that when shooting portraits, right? Au contraire, you don’t want to see a clear background, and you don’t want your model to look far away in the lens. Moreover, you definitely won’t appreciate the distortion which short focal length lenses cause. That’s why you should choose a long focal length lens for portraits. 85mm - 150mm will be okay.
Prime or Zoom?
The second thing you are to decide is whether you want to move closer or further while shooting, or you want your camera does it for you. In other words, zoom. Both types of lenses have pros and cons.
Let’s try to find out how zoom factor affects the quality of the photograph.
Zoom lenses. Of course, you understand that this type of lens allows you to zoom in or out without you having to move a step. The function is quite convenient and relies on multiple glasses inside the lens. The higher the zoom is, the more the quality of the picture is affected.
That is why professional portrait photographers prefer the prime lenses. And since they can’t zoom in or out the picture, you must come closer or further by yourself. But does it matter when the quality is perfect compared to zoom lenses?
Now, you have a camera, a proper lens and you are ready to shoot. But first, you need to adjust your camera settings. How? What is to consider? We’ll talk about the three pillars of exposure:
- shutter speed;
It is quite understandable that aperture setting is in charge of the quantity of the light which reaches the sensor of the camera. It is designated as “F”, for example, “F/1.4”. It means that the aperture is full and there will be a lot of light on the camera sensor. The greater the numbers - the less the aperture is (“F/8” means the aperture is small).
What values should you use while taking a portrait?
You need to understand the main principle. When you set a wide aperture (F/1.4, for instance), you get a beautiful blur in the background. When you set a small aperture, you get a sharp picture without blur. You can vary the values and see what intense blur you like.
It’s you to decide what aperture to set for portraits, but the wider it is, the more your model will stand out.
What’s the shutter speed? In simple terms, it is the duration of your camera taking a shot. If the speed is low (1 and more), your camera will detect and show you the move on a picture. If it’s high (1/250, for instance), the camera will catch a moment so that the picture will be clear and quite sharp, like a frozen moment.
What settings to use for portraits, it’s up to you. It depends on models, environment or goals you have when taking a photo. If you shoot children, it may be difficult for them to stay immovable, so you might decide to use high shutter speed.
But notice, that the sharpness of the photo is not the only thing which depends on the shutter speed. If the shutter is open quite long time, it means more light will get on the shot. So be careful with it. But it mustn’t bother you too much if you need to set the higher shutter speed without getting a photo too bright. You have one more parameter which can help you in that case.
ISO indicates how sensitive your camera is to the light. You can raise the ISO values when shooting at twilight or in the dark room.
What values should you use when shooting portraits? Again, depends on the lighting. Use ISO 50 - 200 at daytime, rise it to 400 - 800 when it’s getting darker. Also, you may need to raise the ISO while shooting indoors. The main thing you should keep in mind is:
The less ISO level - the sharper the photo.
In other words, remember that increasing ISO level also causes the noise in the picture. That’s why you should always ask yourself if there is a real reason to rise ISO at the expense of quality. Probably, you should try to open the aperture wider and see if it would help, so you won’t need to increase the ISO.
Practice and Use Your Skills
Nothing will help you to be good at photography if you don’t (surprise, surprise) photograph. Do not neglect the chance to shoot your friends and even strangers just for fun, for experience, for free.
After your eye becomes more trained and you become more skilled, you’ll be able to make money. How? There are a lot of alternatives. One of the simplest is selling your photos. You can do it at TemplateMonster marketplace, for example.
Are you ready to start? Then grab the camera and go shooting! Now as you’ve become more confident, I’m sure your portraits will be terrific! If you still want to go deeper, try our Photo Marathon. Get the course and the challenge in one shot!
I hope this article was useful and inspiring to you. If you need some more inspiration, check out 100 gorgeous portraits that we’ve found.