Getting a portrait photo right is difficult. There are so many varieties of faces and bodies that one angle or lighting may not suit another one. Making people pose in the right way is another difficult job. But, what is most difficult is that whether you like the photo or not, your subject should certainly like it. Nobody likes to see an unflattering photo of theirs.
Let us see tips on how to take good portrait photographs.
- Use Natural Light
When you are trying to shoot a portrait inside, use the light from a window. This will give a better effect as the light will not be harsh and will be diffused. Of course, the sun shouldn’t be shining through the window. Get the subject to face the window, so that there are no shadows on the face. You can switch off the lights inside so that there is no yellow cast. This is a good way to get great portraits.
- Avoid Direct Sunlight
Never shoot under the sun if you are shooting in the day. The light from the sun could make the subject squint. There will be deep shadows in the face, especially into the eyes. Try to shoot on a cloudy day or when the sun is almost setting. Use a shade if you must shoot during the day.
- Diffuse Harsh Light
If you are wondering how to take good portrait photographs under the sun, the answer is to use a diffuser. You can ask your assistant to hold a diffuser above the subject’s head to diffuse the sunlight. If you don’t have anyone to hold the diffuser you can install it on a light stand. Any white sheet or translucent material can make a good diffuser.
- Avoid Wide-Angle Lens
Don’t use wide-angle lens when you are shooting portraits. It will distort the face of the subject if it is near the edge of the lens. Unless you are trying for a different effect, it is not wise to use a wide-angle lens wider than 50 mm.
When you want to avoid the shadows caused by sunlight, using a reflector is a good method. This is another way of how to take good portrait photographs under the sun. They will reflect the light and focus on the subject’s face.
The above are certain tried methods to take good portrait photographs. There are many aspects that affect a portrait photograph which we will deal with in another post.