Four Things to Remember While Shooting Portraits
It’s that time of year! School portrait photographers are packing up their lenses, and rolling up their laser covered backdrops – ready to photo the children of the world.
What does it take to snap a great portrait?
Turns out it’s not a laser backdrop – there are four other important details to keep in mind.
Our favorite portrait (and everything) photographer (and head of Photojojo customer support) Christina Thomas, shared her portrait taking trips with us.
Connect with Your Subject
Before you even lift you camera, talk with your subject for a few minutes. It doesn’t have to be about the shoot. Talk about the weather or anything. That will help them relax (and you’ll get better photos in the end).
Don’t forget to continue to talk from behind the camera. Keeping the conversation flowing will keep them comfortable and you’ll get much more natural smiles. You might even snap a great laugh, or other fun expression.
Scout Out the Perfect Background
No need to hang a sheet – bright colored walls or walls with a cool texture make great backgrounds.
Anything you like the look of, can be a backdrop. Christina once shot portraits of the Photojojo team in front of a fun bright striped curtain in a Mexican restaurant. Yes, she was careful to check for cilantro in our teeth.
Let’s Talk Lighting
For a flawless portrait you want soft and even lighting on your subject and background. No harsh shadows, or bright spots of light that don’t belong.
If you can’t find that light, make it! A Reflector Set is perfect for evening out light. Use a gold reflector to add a warm glow on a cloudy dreary day, or a white reflector to bounce light back at the front of a backlit subject.
Time to Take Your Photo
It’s finally that time, so get into focus. Christina likes her 50mm or 100mm prime lenses for portraits and recommends using a very giant aperture (remember: that means a small number like f2.8). Giving the light a large opening to go through – or using portrait mode on a new iPhone – will give you shallow depth of field. Your subject will be in focus with a nice blurry background.
Be sure to set your focus on your subject’s eyes. Having their eyes be the sharpest part of the photograph will give viewers a stronger sense of connection to the portrait’s subject when they look at the photo.
Now Get Out There and Shoot
Christina first shared these techniques with us in an episode of the Photojojo Weekly Photo Challenge Podcast. Yes, we have a podcast! Subscribe and listen along to learn even more great tips like these, and enter to win Photojojo prizes every week.