How to take a Good Portrait Photo in 5 Easy Steps

May 26, 2021
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in Photography
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How to take a Good Portrait Photo in 5 Easy Steps

Photography is about creating beautiful images, especially portraits. The more you practice, the better you become at taking good photos and develop your style.

Portraiture is a unique photography niche. You need to study and understand how to capture someone’s face to make it look pleasant and more appealing.

Here’s how to take good portrait photos in 5 easy steps.

  1. Select the proper lens

Decide which focal length you want to use. Usually, the best lens for portraits is 50mm at f/1.8 (nifty-fifty). However, any lens between 35mm and 85mm will give you the best results.

Prime lenses are faster than zoom lenses. The advantage of a prime lens is the ability to separate the subject from the background and create a nice creamy bokeh.

  1. Search for the best location

Location is everything. Depending on what kind of portrait you want to photograph, you need to choose the proper location.

Photo studios are great for traditional portraits and also fashion, lifestyle, glamour, or boudoir photography.

You can take great family portraits in the forest during spring, summer, and autumn. Also, if you are close to the shore, you can create dramatic portrait shots during sunset with the High-Speed Sync technique.

  1. Choose proper lighting

james lyleThe way you use light in your photos will determine how good your portrait will be. Therefore, it’s better to understand how to use natural or artificial light on your subject rather than try to fix it later in the post-process.

If you learn how to harness the light and observe where it falls on your subject, you will become aware of how your portrait will look the best and bring out that emotion.

Portrait photography is about capturing the personality of a person and show their best characteristics. Try to capture a beautiful smile, a candid moment, or their character when they look directly at your camera.

  1. Use different compositional techniques

The most popular compositional technique is the rule of thirds. Place your subject where the parallel and vertical lines intersect.

In close-up shots, when you are shooting in portrait mode (vertical), keep the eyes above the top grid lines. Also, place the dominant eye at the center of your frame. This will give the impression the eyes follow you.

  1. Final retouch and details in post-process

Portraiture also requires photo editing skills. Besides taking the photos, you must be able to edit them before delivering them to your client.

There are a few basic skills someone needs so they can retouch an image and prepare it for print or other purposes. The most popular photo editing software is Photoshop, Lightroom, or Capture One.

There are plenty of online courses on how to edit portrait shots. These courses will help you understand how to use each tool within the software to edit and finalize your image.

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