New photographers always asked, how to take sharp portraits. They sometimes think that they just need a good looking person for a nice portrait. However, the answer is no.
Taking a portrait is easy. Taking a good portrait requires a lot of thought and consideration such as lighting setup, modelling skill. Everyone loves to look good in their photos, and it is much harder than most people think to create a decent portrait. If you want to master the art of taking portraits, follow these tips on how to take sharp portraits.
How to Take Sharp Portraits
1. Use Exposure Compensation
One of the most common problems when taking portrait photos is underexposure. When you are taking photographs of people with light skin tones, the tendency is for the camera to underexpose the subject due to the brightness of their skin. This also happens when you take portraits of people who are wearing white, which is a common situation when taking wedding portraits. In order to avoid an underexposure problem, make sure you use your camera’s exposure compensation feature to get the proper exposure. A setting of +0.7 to +1 exposure compensation will usually be enough to fix the underexposure problem.
2. Set Your Lens to a Wide Aperture
Another key on how to take sharp portraits is to set your lens to wide aperture. The reason for using a wide aperture is because it will blur the background. The blurred background will make your subject stand out sharper in the portrait. An aperture setting somewhere around the range of f/2.8 to f/5.6 will usually give you the desired results.
3. Set the Right Shutter Speed
As well as choosing the right aperture, it is equally important to use the right shutter speed. If you use the wrong shutter speed, it will make your photos blurry.
The general rule is to choose a shutter speed that is larger than the length of the lens. For example, if you are using a wide-angle lens with a focal length of 35mm, then you want to use a shutter speed of 1/35 second or faster.
If you are using a zoom lens on your camera, you will achieve best results if you set the focal length somewhere in the range of 70mm to 200mm. In this case, you would want to set the shutter speed to 1/200 second to avoid camera shake and blurry images.
4. Use the Magic Light
The most magical portraits are created when the photographer use natural light to create beautiful images. You can get gorgeous images at any time during the golden hour.
The golden hour is the time of day when the sun is just risen or about to set. When the sun is low on the horizon, the light it casts will be reddened and soft.
Although it is known as the golden hour, it is not strictly an hour. It may only be half an hour or a couple of hours. No matter how long it lasts, the best portrait photographers will be sure to take their subjects outside to shoot them during the golden hour.
5. Relax Your Subject
The camera will capture the tension if your subject is not comfortable. The best portrait photographers are personable and talkative, getting their subjects to relax and enjoy the shoot.
This relaxation and joy will shine through the portraits you take. If you are having trouble getting your subject to relax, don’t be afraid to ask them if you can do anything to make them feel more comfortable.
6. Learn to Use a Reflector
If you are fighting to become an excellent portrait photographer, you need to learn to use tools other than just the camera.
One of the best tools you can use to instantly improve your portraits is a reflector.
Reflector are white surfaces that reflect light onto the subject. They come in handy when you are having trouble with too much shadow on one side of your subject’s face.
Using a reflector is not difficult. Even if you are new to photography, you can handle it within minutes.