Portrait Photography Tips and Tricks

portrait photograph tips

While seemingly simple, obtaining quality portrait images of individuals is often one of the most difficult tasks for both amateur and professional photographers alike. This is because there are a number of different variables that go into creating such a portrait that have to be tweaked or manipulated by experienced photographers in order to get the type of image desired. That being said, there are examples of common errors which can easily be avoided. Knowing a few portrait photography tips and tricks will go a long way to improving the quality of the images one produces. Here are four of the best tips to consider:

Use a Higher ISO Setting

Unfortunately, subjects are rarely completely still. This is especially true for children.  They’re constantly moving, fidgeting, and blinking, all of which can effect the image that one is trying to capture. By using a higher ISO setting, one can avoid the problem of motion blur that is caused when someone is moving when an image is taken.  There is nothing more frustrating than capturing a photograph where someone is half blinking or in the middle of a smile. A higher ISO also captures sharper images and reduces the effect of camera shaking. While an ISO that is too high can cause an image to become too bright or grainy, using a high ISO is nonetheless the best choice under most circumstances.

Choose the Lens Wisely

Different lenses are created to capture different things. A wide angle lens, for example, captures the depth of field more so than a telescoping lens, which is generally used for capturing more of the subject instead of what is around them. Generally, telescoping lenses are favored more for portrait photographs, but that isn’t always the case. It is best to choose wisely depending on what one wishes to accomplish.

Use Reflectors both Indoors and Outdoors

A reflector is a rather inexpensive piece of photography equipment that helps to produce amazing results when used correctly. Reflectors can be used indoors in order to focus more light on the subject and outdoors to bounce natural sunlight back onto the person in order to fill in troublesome shadows and create a more complex, detailed image.

Choose an Area of Focus

With more limited fields of view, such as those created using telescoping lenses, it is essential to focus on one particular area of the subject.  Without having an area of focus, the results are often mixed. For example, a photograph may have a person’s nose in sharp focus while the eyes are out of focus. The best way to mitigate this is to choose the area of focus beforehand. For severely limited fields of view, that area should be around the eyes. With wider views, it should be the head of the subject. As always, experimentation is the best approach to take for superior results.


Are you ready to pursue your photography career? Get information on programs in your area and online using our photography degree finder at the top of this page. 


If you would like to know more about portrait photography, check out the links below.