One of the topics that you request the most from us is undoubtedly that of portrait photography. If you like this type of photography, you are in luck: you have just found an article in which you will find answers to all your questions regarding portrait photography.
I have made it my goal to make this article the most complete SOURCE of information you will find on the Internet when it comes to taking portrait photos.
Regardless of your level as a photographer, whether you are a beginner, amateur or advanced, this monumental guide will help you understand the most important aspects with which you can improve your portrait photography.
In the next lines I will present you with resources, tools, links to articles and information where we reveal all the tricks that professionals use to take portrait photos.
Important: the techniques and tricks that I am going to reveal to you in this article will allow you to achieve photographic results close to the examples that you will find on this page or in the links that I include in it, however, the theory alone will not take the photo for you.
Before starting, I need you to commit to writing down those ideas or tricks that seem useful to you, but above all, that you carry them out.
The best way to learn portrait photography is by practicing portrait photography.
Another thing: I recommend that you add this article to your favorites. I don’t want you to lose track of him because an untimely person rings your doorbell in the next few minutes.
Add the article to your favourites so you can refer to it later every time you need to clarify a doubt about how to take portrait photos.
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WHAT IS PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY?
Portrait photography is a photographic genre that consists of capturing the characteristics of a subject, whether individual or group, through the use of light, background, poses, technique or composition. The story, the message or the emotion are essential ingredients for any portrait photography.
If you want to discover the types of portrait photography that exist, I will tell you below.
TYPES OF PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY
There are many types of portrait photography, here I indicate some of these types. If you want to learn how to take good portraits, it may be a good idea to practice different portrait typologies:
- fashion portrait
- Self-portrait (Selfie)
- High key / low key portrait
- Couples Portrait / Wedding
- Family/Group Portrait
- black and white portrait
- surreal portrait
- concept portrait
- artistic portrait
- boudoir portrait
- stolen portrait
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WHAT IS THE BEST CAMERA TO TAKE PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY?
Although good portraits can be taken with any camera, there is a certain type of camera that will allow us to get a lot out of the subject in front of us.
To do this, we will need a camera with manual controls: it can be a digital SLR or a mirrorless. These cameras offer the advantage of, first, having an interchangeable lens, something that will allow us to invest later in a good specific lens for portraits (I’ll tell you more about this later).
The second advantage of these cameras is the ability to set the camera to shoot in manual mode.
Being able to adjust the camera in manual mode will give us an incredible advantage when preparing and executing our portrait photography. (To master the Manual Mode, I recommend this other mega guide that I have prepared for you).
Within this type of cameras, any camera is worth it. These are our SLR camera recommendations to get you started.
BEST LENSES FOR PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY
If you have an interchangeable lens camera, your thing is that you are gathering some money to invest in a good lens for portraits.
In terms of lenses, there are many options on the market so, so that you do not feel lost, in this article we have prepared a list of the ideal lenses for portrait photos.
YES, BUT… WHAT LENS DO I NEED TO SHOOT PORTRAITS?
If within the previous list you ask me about my #1 recommendation, on a personal level I have an obsession with a lens that I call “The King of Lenses”: I am referring to the 50mm f/1.4, which I have talked about in this blog until now. satiety.
If you want to know more about how this lens can help you take good portraits very easily, take a look at the article I dedicated to it.
Another option you have is its cheaper version, “The Prince of Objectives”, I leave you more info about this other one here.
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RECOMMENDED ACCESSORIES FOR PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY
Not all, but a good part of portrait photography owes its merit to something as small and secondary as accessories.
Most professional portrait photographers have a kit of accessories that they take with them everywhere.
If you want to discover which are the best recommended accessories to take portrait photos, here is this article where you will find all these accessories .
PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS
I am of the philosophy that there are no impossible photos.
All the photos, no matter how spectacular or impressive they may seem to us, were taken by a person of flesh and blood, so sooner or later, with greater or lesser difficulty, any of us can achieve the same photo, as long as we have enough dose of tenacity yes, and as long as we know the tricks and practices that great photographers follow to achieve those results.
The same applies to 1000% portrait photography.
It does not matter if you have a humble or cheap camera, if they explain to you the technique behind portrait photography and you start practicing on your own, little by little you will learn those same tricks that portrait photographers use in their work. .
One day, you’ll be shooting portrait photos with the same level of professional quality as those photographers you’ve always envied.
If you want to learn how to make good photographic portraits, here I bring you a list of articles where we have gathered most of these tricks used in portrait photos that you see out there:
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PHOTOGRAPHIC PORTRAIT LIGHTING
To take good portraits you need good light.
Whether it’s natural light or artificial light portraiture, you need to know a few principles around lighting control in portraiture.
If this is what you are looking for, here are three articles where we explain in a very simplified way how you can control the light in the portrait, how to direct it on the face of your subject and thus achieve spectacular portrait photos.
COMPOSITION IN PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY
Composition is another key ingredient to successful portrait photography.
If you don’t pay attention to the composition factor, it’s easy to ruin that portrait that has taken you so much time and work.
THE POSES IN THE PORTRAITS
When you photograph professional models it is very easy. They know how to move and pose and you don’t worry about this part.
However, when this is not the case, you have to direct the poses yourself . Ideally, you should have some pose schemes prepared, in the format you want, either in photos on your mobile, some sheets of paper with sketches, whatever is most comfortable for you when doing your portrait session.
HOW TO TAKE SHARP PORTRAITS
A very frequent problem among amateur photographers when they begin to venture into portrait photography is the issue of sharpness.
In portraiture, it’s easy to fall into blurry or slightly out-of-focus portraits.
Solving it is very simple, we will tell you about it in the following article .
INDOOR PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY
If you have a hard time taking portrait photos indoors, don’t worry, you’re not the only one.
Photos taken indoors come with a particular difficulty: the scarcity of natural light.
No matter how much indoor light we have, an indoor portrait will always require special steps if we want to obtain a correctly exposed portrait photo.
For this, I leave you this article where we show you some tricks to improve your indoor portrait photographs.
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HOW TO TAKE BLACK AND WHITE PORTRAITS
What happens if we combine two photographic genres such as portrait and black and white?
Black and white give portrait photography an interesting “emotional” dimension that is difficult to achieve with colour.
If you haven’t tried it so far, I invite you to try making black and white portraits because you may be pleasantly surprised.
How is it done? We tell you here.
One of the most original ways I know of to take portrait photos is at night, producing a “night portrait”.
With the theme of the night, few people dare in the photograph, perhaps because of the supposed difficulty involved.
In this article, however, we try to demystify that supposed difficulty. Within it we have prepared 11 ideas to make a beautiful night portrait, without flash, and in a very simple way.
PORTRAITS WITH WATER
One of the most creative ways to do portrait photography and, incidentally, have fun, is by using the element of “water”.
How can I make portraits with water? – you may be wondering.
Don’t worry , here we have prepared an extensive article full of inspiration and ideas so you can try this fun way of doing photography.
PORTRAITS ON THE BEACH
The beach is one of the natural places that give more play when it comes to making photographic portraits.
In this article, we show you some very creative ideas to make your next portrait photograph on the beach. In the article, you will also find tricks and guidelines to make your task easier 😉
The “stolen” is a subgenre of portrait photography, it overlaps with some interpretations of the journalistic genre, although it also has points in common with street photography.
For those of you who are attracted to stolen portrait photography, in the following article, you will find specific tips and tricks for taking this type of photography.
PORTRAITS OF PREGNANT WOMEN
Pregnancy is a very special stage that many women want to capture to always remember it.
This type of portrait has its own characteristics and some aspects to take into account to capture the best of the moment.
That is why we have prepared a complete guide on pregnancy photography, with tricks, tips and a lot of inspiration, which you can see at the link.
The self-portrait is a subgenre of portraiture and is older than many people believe ( some place it as early as 1300 BC ).).
Today, many have reduced it to a simple duck-mouthed pose in front of the bathroom mirror, but the self-portrait can be much more interesting and creative than that.
Here we have prepared 10 tips to master the art of self-portrait photography.
PORTRAIT WITH BACKGROUND BLUR (HOW TO BLUR THE BACKGROUND IN A PORTRAIT)
One of the questions I hear most frequently is “How to make portraits with a blurred background?”.
The answer is simpler than you might think.
Here I leave you the exact formula to achieve a portrait with a blurred background.
HOW TO TAKE CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHIC PORTRAITS
If you are tired of the typical portraits of always, with boring poses and frames that do not change, here you will find a ton of ideas to capture very creative portraits.
COMMON MISTAKES IN PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY
There are a series of very frequent mistakes that almost all of us have made at some point when we started taking portrait photos for the first time.
If you are taking your first steps in this photographic genre, with this article you will be able to remove a good handful of these errors with little effort.
PORTRAITS FOR SOCIAL NETWORKS
Our profiles on Linkedin, Instagram, Facebook, etc. They have become our business cards.
To make the best impression follow these tips for your profile photos and avoid making these mistakes in your Social Media portraits.
Ok, they are not artistic at all, but at the end of the day they are a portrait and knowing how to take your own passport photos from home is very useful. In the link we tell you step by step.
HOW TO TELL STORIES THROUGH PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY
There are people who think that portrait photography is about the subject, the physique, the “pretty” of the model or the model. It seems that if you find an attractive model, you already have the portrait done.
In my humble opinion, that would not be portrait photography, but a simple shot with a photo camera at something.
If there is merit in that photograph (which I doubt), forgive me but that merit would in any case be the subject who posed in front of the camera.
True portrait photography is not about the subject, but about creating a story.
The subject is an element, among many others. Like a film, portrait photography has to reflect a story, it has to captivate the viewer, imbue their brain with an idea, a concept, an emotion, a tingle.
If portrait photography is a film, the subject posing in front of the camera is one more element, a kind of actor to continue with the film analogy.
Every time you set out to do a portrait, think about the story or emotion you want people to feel when they see your photograph.
There are a lot of ideas and tricks that you can use to create and convey a story in your portrait, here in this article we will tell you some tricks.
HOW TO CONNECT WITH PEOPLE IN PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY
Keeping the same analogy that doing portrait photography is similar to producing a movie, in the cinema every good director has to know how to connect with his actors.
You should learn to do the same.
You can be a crack in photographic technique and composition, but if you don’t know how to connect with your subject, he or she would pose nervously, or in an unnatural way.
If this is a problem for you, I recommend that you consult this article in which we give you hints and tips so that you can connect with the subject in your portrait photographs .
SETTINGS AND PARAMETERS FOR PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY
If you are looking for a starting configuration to adjust your camera and thus take a portrait photo, in this article you will find a section dedicated to the ideal settings and parameters to take portrait photos.
WHAT APERTURE TO USE FOR PORTRAITS?
In a portrait photograph, the ideal is to use a diaphragm opening as wide as possible.
This is achieved by setting the camera to as low a f/value as possible. An aperture of f/3.5 would be great, but if you have a lens that has an aperture of f/1.8 for example, I would definitely recommend shooting at that aperture.
In any case, keep in mind that wide openings come with drawbacks as well.
If you shoot at f/1.8, you’ll get a lot of light, and you’ll get very beautiful out of focus background, however, it will be easy to lose your subject while focusing on it.
It’s not impossible, but getting the focus right becomes more critical. Just keep that in mind. More on focus in this mega guide.
BACKDROPS FOR PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY
In photography stores, and even on Amazon, you will be able to find a good number of backgrounds that you can use for your portraits.
There are white , colored backgrounds that simulate landscapes or other environments and that look great because, being out of focus in the shot, they go through real environments 🙂
That said, if you don’t want to risk too much, a solid black background is a good wild card.
It always looks good, it gives a lot of room for black and white portrait photography, it allows you to take low-key portraits, isolate the subject, among other ideas.
BOOKS THAT TEACH YOU HOW TO TAKE PORTRAIT PHOTOS
If you want to dedicate yourself fully to this photographic genre, here are some book recommendations that will help you master portrait photography:
- Mastering Portrait Photography: this extensive mega-guide that you have been reading for a while now pales in comparison to our book, entirely dedicated to teaching the amateur photographer in a simple and accessible way how to master the fine art of photograph portraits.
- Without Fear of Portraits, by José Antonio Fernández: one of the most successful books in terms of sales in the FotoRuta collection. Ideal for those looking for a complete guide to perfect their portraits.
- The Dramatic Portrait, by Chris Knight: the portrait photography book you are looking for if you are already passionate about portraiture at an advanced level, if you want to learn portrait photography focused on fashion or advertising, or if you also want to master lighting in photography of portraits.
- Portraits, by Steve McCurry: this photojournalist is an eminence in photography. Surely you are familiar with his well-known portrait of the Afghan girl. His book “Portraits” is full of ideas that will inspire you for your next portrait photography.
- Read this book if you want to shoot good portraits, by Henry Carroll: a great introduction to portrait photography, with an emphasis on simple language and an approachable style. An ideal book for those who are going to venture into portrait photography for the first time.
YOUTUBE VIDEOS WITH TIPS FOR PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY
Interesting video of the guys from On a Trip with the Camera. In it they tell us 5 ideas to make some creative portraits. Ideal for those days when you feel like working on some portraiture but feel lacking in creativity.
In this other video, Joan Vendrell tells us, in 6 minutes, how to configure the camera in manual mode to take portrait photography.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY
In this article, we have gathered the most frequently asked questions about portrait photography. Here are 10+1 questions (with corresponding answers) about portrait photography .
Still hungry to learn how to take good portraits? Here is some additional reading:
I hope you found something useful in this guide on portrait photography.
Be sure to save it in your favorites to refer to it whenever you need to review something.
And, above all, don’t forget to share this guide with others, I’m sure that more than one in your environment will come in handy to improve their portrait photos 😉.
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