5 tips to improve your portraits.

  1. Shoot wide open.


Shooting wide open was really in  few years ago, the biggest mistake people made was shooting at f2.8 and lower from too far away. This just results in a generally soft image. Try and save shooting wide open for when you are up close. It only works when you nail the focus on the eyes.

85mm lens (f2.0 160iso 80th)


2. Show personality.


This might sound really boringly obvious, but chances are that you got some new camera gear at Christmas that you want to play with, it is really easy to let the new equipment take centre stage in your mind. Always remember that the portrait is about the subject first and your equipment last.

85mm lens (f16, 160iso 160th)


3. Simplify your portraits on location.


Less is almost always more when it comes to portraits. Keep the backgrounds simple, if it doesn’t add to the portrait, remove it.  Make a scan of your viewfinder before taking a photograph and make sure there are no distracting lines crossing your subject, horizons that cut through or plants growing out of their head.

85mm lens (f5.6, 160 iso, 100th)


4. Be ready to capture that moment.


35mm lens (f1.6 160iso 200th)

I talk to my subjects throughout the shoot and I am always ready to grab that shot. I use what Canon call “Back focus” to keep me locked in so I just have to press the shutter when I am ready. If you have to focus for each frame you will miss a lot of shots.


5. Don’t be afraid to shoot wide.


scottchoucino (10 of 20)
35mm lens (f5.6 160 iso 125th)

Portraits are not just for 85mm lenses and longer. Show people in their surroundings if it adds to the image.  I really like pulling back a bit and showing the full scene.



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