Portrait photography is one of the most popular forms of the art. Whether it is a picture taken in a formal studio setting or something set in a more casual scene, you will always want to capture your subject in the best possible way. However, that can be quite a challenge so here are some tips to help you improve your portrait photography skills.
Get The Lighting Right
One of the most important aspects with any type of photography is having the right lighting. You will want to insure that you have enough light, either natural or studio, to capture the subject and the photo correctly.
Indirect light is much more flattering on a person so avoid using the on camera flash, or hot shoe mount pointed directly at your subject. In order to avoid a drop shadow behind the person you will want a good source of back light. They always say you learn best through experience so experiment with lighting to achieve a variety of effects.
Blur The Background
Having the background softly blurred with the subject is in shart focus is a trademark of portrait photography. Doing this draws your attention to the person above all else.
To accomplish that look you will want to shoot with as big of a aperture as possible. If you have a lens that opens up to f/1.8 or f/2.0, that will give the best effects. Have your subject stand away from the background instead of directly on it. If you are shooting in front of a wall for example, the farther they stand from it the better.
If you have a zoom lens, try standing back from the person and shooting at a larger range. The result will be a shallower depth of field which increases the blur. It is also best to avoid busy backgrounds, as they will distract from your main subject.
Make Your Model Feel Comfortable
You will be amazed at how much better your photos will look with a relaxed subject. You don't want your model to looked posed and stiff as a board. But if they are relaxed you'll see more natural smiles and poses.
To achieve this simply talk and joke around with your model as you shoot. Show them a few of the photos and tell them how great they are doing. Remember if you are tense that tension will go into your subject; make sure you are relaxed as well.
Those were three fairly simple tips but hopefully they will help you take better portrait photos. Remember you learn through experience so start practicing. You could even get a friend to pose for you just so you could figure out what works the best for you and be better prepared when you do a actual shoot.