Professional Photography Tips for Beautiful Clicks

professional photography tips

Clicking great pictures is an art and every photographer needs to know certain basic tips and some secret tips to click like a pro. Here are some professional photography tips shared by experts to help you click amazing pictures. This section focuses on portrait pictures.

Pick The Perfect Background For Your Subject

A close up of an animal

In portrait photography the background is just as important as the subject. A busy or distracting background will take attention away from the person in your photo. Usually for portrait photography you’ll want a neutral, uncluttered background that won’t distract the viewer from your portrait subject.

Prepare Your Portrait Subject For The Shoot

A close up of a green field

Even the best, most expensive camera equipment will produce poor results if your subject isn’t ready, comfortable, relaxed and feeling their best. Being photographed is quite an unnatural and therefore stressful experience for the subject, so your job as a photographer is to make the experience simple, fun and stress-free. Break the ice by making small talk. Even if you know the person well they may still be feeling apprehensive. Explain the kind of shot you want – or ask them what kind of shot they’d like. Be open to suggestions from your subject.

Pose Your Portrait Subject Like A Pro

Now that your subject is ready, comfortable and relaxed you need to keep them that way throughout the shoot. Work quickly but confidently and calmly, giving them clear instructions as you shoot. It’s unlikely they’ll know how to pose for you so you’ll need to give them constant guidance. Don’t overwhelm them with complicated requests. Just get them to make small, simple adjustments, for example, “Raise your chin a little,” “Straighten your back,” or “Now look at me.” Have their body and shoulders turned slightly away from the camera for a natural feel. Or, for a more confrontational image, have their shoulders square-on to the camera as shown below.

Ensure Your Subject Is Well Lit

Generally speaking, natural daylight is the most attractive light source for portrait photography – especially if you don’t have dedicated studio lighting. A slightly overcast day provides a lovely soft light that will be flattering on your subject. Direct sunlight isn’t usually desirable because it creates strong, hard shadows on the subject’s face. In such conditions it’s best to find some light shade to position your subject.

Alternatively, embrace the opportunity and shoot (carefully) into the sun, with your subject’s back to the sun. This is called backlighting and can result in a golden glow around your subject. Keep in mind that shooting into the sun does require you to provide some “fill” light to illuminate the shadows on your subject’s face. Fill light can be reflected sunlight, bounced back onto the subject’s face using a reflector or even a simple sheet of white card. 

Use A Flattering Focal Length

Focal length has a major impact on your images because it introduces a predictable amount of image distortion which can make or break your portrait photography. Find out what focal lengths your lens offers by examining the lens barrel. The focal lengths are displayed in millimeters, e.g. 18mm, 55mm, etc. If you’re using a fixed or prime lens there will only be one focal length. To select a focal length on a zoom lens, rotate the zoom ring on the lens barrel. If your camera doesn’t have a zoom ring, use the zoom +/- buttons on the camera body.

Blur The Background Using Aperture Priority Mode

A sure-fire way to raise your portrait photography game is to shoot with a shallow depth of field. This allows you to have your subject in sharp focus while the background appears blurred or out of focus, helping your portrait subject stand out.

These are some tips shared by professional photographers.

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