Started as a means to preserve history, portrait photography has come a long way from stony black and white photos to dream-like photos with blurred backgrounds. It continues to be one of the most widely popular styles of photography. It’s about capturing a stunning and emotive portrait that evokes feelings in the viewers and captivates their attention.
Given below is a detailed four-step guide on how to master portraits in 2021.
1.Select a Suitable Background
Contrary to popular belief, background does play an important role in portrait photography. A common mistake that photographers do is to ignore the background on the pretext that it is mostly blurred or not too much in focus. A flashy or busy background can divert the attention of your viewer from the main subject. This does not mean that you necessarily have to choose a plain background. You can even sometimes add a subject in the background for added interest. E.g. an expecting lady in front of tiny weeny clothes or shoes etc. Hence, it very important to study and choose a background that complements your subject and keeps the undivided attention of the onlooker.
2. Get the Subject ready for Shoot
However expensive and updated your shooting gears might be, they will always produce an unsatisfactory result if the subject isn’t comfortable. Posing for the camera might seem like a fun thing to do on a vacation, but when it comes to professional shoots, it gets a little stressful. A key to good portraits is to make the experience fun and easy. Try and engage with the subject in casual talks for them to open up. Explain the purpose and type of shoot to them and ask for their suggestions. Always suggest your subject to wear neutral colors so they stand out in the photographs. Keep the camera angle ready and take adequate test shots to see that everything is on point.
3. Take care of the Lighting
If a good camera is the heart of photography, lights are certainly the heartbeat. The importance of proper lighting cannot be stressed enough in portrait photography. Daylight is undoubtedly the most charming source of light for portraits. During the daytime, avoid clicking portraits in direct sunlight as it leads to strong shadow formation on the subject’s face. A slightly overcast day with a soft light could be flattering for the subject. You can also use the sun as a backlight source to get a golden glow around the subject. While shooting in sun, you will not need to arrange for a fill light. A reflected or bounced sunlight does the work pretty well. In case it is not possible to shoot during the day, you can always fall back on the studio lights.
4. Blur the Background
One of the most appealing ways around capturing portraits is clicking with a shallow depth of felid. A shallow depth of field ensures that your subject is in sharp focus while the background is out of focus to ensure that the main subject stands out. This can be done using the aperture-priority mode where you can adjust the aperture according to the need. Aperture, in simple language, refers to the opening of the camera through which the light enters. It is measured in f stops. The smaller the f-number, the bigger the aperture, and the bigger the aperture, the more blurred your background will be. Photographers generally use the smallest f-number that their camera offers for portraits.
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