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basic portrait photography

Posted On: Feb 16, 2021

Seen by: 2928

Categories: Info

Portrait Photography

This is a starting point for starting with portrait photography. As soon as you feel comfortable with the process, you can start making changes and create your own style.

General tips

studioPlace the model as far away from the background as possible. This creates a blurred background. Also, there is less stray light.

Place the main light with modifier as close to the model as possible. This created the softest light. This also creates soft shadows and more gradual transitions from light to dark. With lights without modifiers this won’t make much of a change.

Position the main light aprox. 45 degrees next to the camera and approx. 45 degrees facing downward.

Place the fill light as close as possible to the camera. Dial the amount of light about one or one and a half of a stop lower than the main light.

Place an effect light left or right behind the model, out of sight of the camera. This isolates the model from the background. The amount of light is depending on the desired effect.

Start with only the main light active to find the correct exposure. Turn off the main light and do the same with the fill light.

Some additional pointers:

Make sure the distance between camera and model is at least 5-7 ft (1.5 - 2 meters). This way there is no distortion in the face. To fill up the frame in portrait photography you'll need a lens with a focal length of at least 50 - 75 mm. (when using a camera with AP-C sensor)

Select an aperture as large as possible. This gives you the smallest depth of field.

Select the lowest ISO possible for the highest image quality.

Select a shutter speed as short as possible to minimize the influence of the surrounding light. The shortest speed depends on your camera but for most amateur cameras this is about 1/125 s.

In some cases you may want to make use of the surrounding light. In this case, measure the light first and chose a longer shutter speed. But don’t go below about 1/30th to prevent motion blur.

Study the shadows.

  • Shadows on the eyes: is the main light too high, is there fill light
  • Shadows of the nose: not too sharp or dark
  • Shadows on the neck: not too sharp or dark

Watch for bright spots on forehead or cheeck

Always focus on the eyes. And when the model is sitting sideways, on the eye closest to the camera.

And the most important: enjoy!


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