Advice for Beginner Portrait Photographers

Portrait photography is a subcategory of photography. As the name suggests, it focuses on taking portrait shots. Taking a photo of a human face with the goal of bringing out the desired emotions from the viewer has its own unique challenges. In this article, we are going to cover some of the most useful tips for beginners when taking portrait shots.

The Camera Settings
The first thing that you should learn on how to make better portrait shots is getting to know the camera settings. Specifically, you’d want to know the usual settings for aperture, ISO and shutter speed that usually produces great portrait shots. Keep in mind that there are very few “hard” rules in photography. However, when you are starting out, it’s always best that you start with what “usually” works best and once you have gained good experience, then you can start to breaking out from the “usual.”

Plan The Pose
The biggest challenge for portrait photographers is the camera shyness. Some subjects are not just comfortable in front of a camera. Hence, it’s best to learn human posture communication. Humans have a posture for being aggressive, relaxed or sexual. It’s best that you learn about these and incorporate these poses for your portrait shots.

While you may argue that it’s not important as you will only be taking a half-body shot or the face, but keep in mind that the entire posture of the body affects the face of the subject, which then can impact the capture portrait photos.

Shooting Angles
Knowing the impact of camera angles is an important tool in your toolbox. Certain angles will create a certain tone. If you don’t know what you are doing, you may end up using an angle that does not work well with the desired photo. For example, shots taken from a very low camera angle and looking up tends to set a tone of “larger than life.” However, if you wish to create a subtle and elegant type of image, then using low camera angles will usually not work.

Framing The Portrait
In this section, we are not talking about the frames that you put on a portrait photo. We are talking about naturally framing your subject using elements in the photo. A properly farmed portrait photo allows the eyes to naturally focus on the subject. For example, you can use windows, doors or any horizontal and vertical lines to naturally draw the viewer’s eye to your subject.

Portrait photography is always a big category for photography. After all, most people love to see photos of themselves. If you want to venture out in this category, then don’t forget about the important tips that we mentioned above.