What to Avoid When Doing Portraits!

Welcome back to this week’s blog! Today I thought I would give you tips on what not to do when you are taking portraits. I have written a blog called What Not to Do but that was more about how you should act with your client. I encourage you to read that piece as well if you haven’t already. Now to get started!

Shooting Wide:

  • These can produce funky shots making close subjects look bigger.
  • It’s better to have your client sit further away while using a longer lens.
  • However don’t stand so far away and not use enough zoom so that there are huge empty spaces. This is not to say full-length portraits don’t work, they just need more thought.

When I am shooting portraits, I often use my telephoto lens which is my 75-300mm or my prime lens which is my 85mm. If you do not know the difference between a Telephoto and a Prime lens, I wrote a blog all about that here.

Keep it Sharp:

  • A general rule is to keep the eyes in a portrait sharp.
  • A shallow aperture such as a f/1.8-4 is a great way to direct the viewer’s attention and if the wrong part of the image is sharp, your viewer could end up looking behind the model.

If you are unsure what kind of settings you need I have written a blog all about Manual Mode  as well as created a pdf document to help you out on the go.

Angles:

  • This tends to depend on the subject of your image but it can help you to produce better images if you keep in mind the angles that you are shooting in.
  • Shooting in your subject’s eye level can never go wrong, however if you want to get creative you can always use above shots.
  • It is always recommended to avoid shooting below because this can lead to double chins and nostril views.

Shadows:

  • In some cases, strong shadows may make an image. But in most situations, shadows should be softened.
  • If you are outdoors, finding a shady spot or using a diffuser can soften the light.
  • Avoid using the flash on your camera and look into using an off camera flash.

I have an example of how strong shadows can make an image in my blog called Film Noir Photography! This is one of my favorite photo techniques so I recommend you check it out!

Look at your Surroundings:

  • One of the biggest mistakes people make is not paying attention to the surroundings and as a result can end up with poles sticking out of your model’s head or something phallic above your head.
  • The image to the right is from an article that I read a couple months ago that makes my point about checking your backgrounds before you shoot!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s blog and that some of these tips help you. I would love to hear some of your tips for portrait photography so please leave your comments below! And also visit me on Facebook!

Audrey ❤

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