How to Take Better Portrait Photographs

We all want to look good on a photo, especially if it is a portrait. But have you noticed how you look better in some angles and with certain lighting, while in others you look like you are sick or you have a bigger face? The good news is that those pretty portraits are not accidents but there are tried and tested ways to take better photos.

Pick a short telephoto lens. Selecting the right equipment for a portrait will help you a lot. The best lens for a portrait shot is a telephoto lens because it compresses the perspective. You can pick lenses between 85 to 150 mm lens.

Set the ISO setting low. Adjust the ISO setting to not more than 400 as this will help reduce the noise in the background. But this works only if your subject is not moving. If the lighting is poor, however, you can use a higher ISO setting or open the aperture. If you are still unsure, try taking different shots with different settings for ISO, shutter speed, and aperture until you find the best combination that works.

There is no single rule for aperture. In some guides, you might see recommended aperture settings for portraits, but remember that the subject and background are unique. The general rule would be to use a wide aperture if you need to shoot a portrait of just one subject. If the aperture is too wide, the photo will end up highlighting parts of the subject’s face. If you need a portrait for more than one person, the starting point can be at f/8 then adjust accordingly.

Shutter speed is unique for every subject. Adjusting the shutter speed is based on what you want to capture from your subject. If they are still, you can use 1/15th or lower. But if the subject is moving a lot or you are trying to get a portrait of more than one person, use 1/125th or higher. Do not forget to check the ISO setting if you still get blurry images.

Always shoot on manual mode. If you have a tripod, use it so you can shoot in manual mode. This will give you better control on the settings of the camera especially if you need to take several shots of the subject. An alternative would be to shoot in aperture priority mode. This also works great in portraits especially if you are shooting with a background that have a lot of movement or objects.

Match white balance settings to the natural lighting. You will want the portrait to show the subject’s natural skin tone as much as possible. The best way to do this is to utilize the natural light in the setting. Complement it with the proper white balance setting that is closest to the natural lighting. Do not use the auto white balance, but select from the presets.

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