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Aug 28, 2018
There’s a big difference in quality between a professionally-shot portrait photo and one casually snapped with a cellphone. Capturing beautiful images of people goes beyond the right preset mode and steady hands. It’s important to get a high-quality shot of loved ones that evokes their personality and essence. Below are a few tips about how to optimize your camera settings, shooting environment, and subjects to produce a stunning finished portrait.
Having at least a general size and medium in mind when taking your portrait can help you make decisions along the way. Print Partner is a boutique printing shop that works with professional photographers to produce archival quality photographic prints. We have custom canvas prints that offer a warm, traditional look, acrylic prints that are sleek and modern, and if you’re looking for metal prints in Canada our sublimation techniques are unique and state-of-the-art. Our framed-under-glass selection offers a classic look, and our wide range of photo papers offer any final presentation effect you’re after. We offer printing in hundreds of standard and custom sizes.
Tech Radar provides several tips about camera settings to enhance your personal portraits:
A camera’s metering system measures out an appropriate amount of light to enter the camera for the right exposure. The system works on averages and tends to select midtone readings (partway between pure black and white), so it might not perfectly match your needs. Concentrated areas of darkness or light – even light skin tones – can throw off the metering. Exposure Compensation controls can help lighten faces, so try dialling it up in increments until it looks natural.
Portraits are best with a wide set aperture (about f/2.8-f/5.6) for a shallow depth of field. Because the focus is on the people, this blurs the background. Aperature Priority mode controls the depth of field of your DSLR which will set the correct shutter speed and exposure.
Factor in lens focal length when setting the shutter speed to avoid blurring from a shaky camera. Shutter speed should be higher than focal length, e.g., for 200mm use at least a 1/250 second speed. Try to have your subjects stay still and turn on your camera’s anti-shake setting. A tripod can be great help, too.
A faster shutter speed will help compensate for the natural movements of your lovely subjects. The flexibility of a handheld shoot will increase this need further, due to your own movement. In Aperture Priority mode with a wide aperture, increase your ISO to increase shutter speed.
As for style choices, choose an environment that suits your subjects. Take your outdoorsy family to your favourite hiking trail. Capture your partner who loves the nightlife on a shining lamplit street corner. Gather your pals together on the cozy living room couch where you catch up and watch movies each Friday. The lighting available in these settings might not be ideal for portraiture. Pick an outdoor location where your subjects can face the light source – keeping in mind a blazing sun will cause a lot of squinting expressions. Bring a portable light source to night time locales or position people so streetlights or storefronts are offering ample lighting. Move lamps around indoors to brighten the room. Play around with the light. Some rules are meant to be broken – a light source from behind or certain angles might capture the alternative effect you’re after.
Using a digital camera, there’s no fear of running out of film, so shoot many pictures from different angles, positions, and locations in the same setting. The longer the session, the more comfortable your subjects will be with a camera pointed at them which will help with natural expressions and poses. Consider clothing: a clash of outfits and palates can disrupt the presentation.
If you’re looking for top quality photo printing in Canada Print Partner offers an entire suite of options to take your finished portraits to new levels.
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