Taking better portraits

Portraits La Befana

If you love taking photos of people (or animals for that matter) but aren’t sure how to get the best results, this article is perfect for you. Portraits can create a range of emotional reactions from your viewers and draw you into to the story being told. You can use a wide array of techniques to tell this story and create wonderful images in the process.

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First things first

The best lenses for this are either a prime lens or a short telephoto lens. These types of lenses will provide the best results when it comes to your primary subject. Wide angle zoom lenses used up close to your subject have a habit of distorting the proportions making the subject look asymmetrical.

Five tips for better portraits

Here are five quick ways you can immediately improve your portrait technique.

The eyes have it

Focus your camera on your subject’s eye, this will allow you to get the face in complete focus and having sharp eyes is imperative for great portraits. Also, you almost always want to shoot from your subject’s eye level. With children or pets, don’t be afraid to get on the ground with them. You will get a much better portrait if you shoot from the subjects perspective.

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Remove distractions

Make sure to remove clutter from the scene. You don’t want the viewer distracted from your subject in any way. Every secondary subject in the photo should complement the main subject in some meaningful way.

Natural light

There is no substitute for natural light, so use it to your advantage. Find a window or doorway and let your subject be lit by the light there. Turn them at a slight angle so there are no harsh shadows. Your photos will be much more realistic by using natural light and this also brings the advantage of not needing to spend a lot of money for studio equipment.

Portraits La Befana

Be candid

Engage with your model, getting a great shot isn’t just about making someone stand in a spot and smile. If you want really candid photos you need to interact with the person. Have them move around or do things that make the photo more dynamic.

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Try some photos in black and white or maybe one of the other monochrome styles. I always love how elegant it can make a photo.

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Want more? Check out my other guides!

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