3 photography hacks to capture better portraits
From the shelves in our family homes to our Instagram feeds, portraits are everywhere. It makes sense: humans are natural-born storytellers, and portraits capture a person in a moment in time.
If you’re thinking of trying your hand at portraiture, you’re in great company! We asked the experts at Ted’s Cameras for their portrait photography tips. Here are 3 hacks for taking better portraits.
#1 Capture beautiful bokeh with the right camera gear
The best portraits have a creamy, blurred background that serves to sharpen the subject even more. That’s bokeh! It’s a clever way to give your portraits a more professional look, and it’s easy to achieve.
To get that dreamy bokeh effect, you have to open up the aperture of your lens to its widest setting so you end up with a very shallow depth of field. While it’s possible to use zoom lenses in this way, to create a real blur you’d need to invest in expensive lenses.
Enter: prime lenses. They’re perfect for bokeh and are the best lens for portrait photography. They do an excellent job at separating your portrait’s foreground from the background while picking up on the smaller details of your subject, like their smile lines or the sparkle in their eyes. In most cases, using a low ISO setting and a faster shutter speed will be necessary to capture beautiful bokeh.
#2 Harness the power of lighting for your portrait
Like with any type of photography, lighting is king, so you want to spend some time mastering it. When it comes to portraits, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, but there are a few things you should keep in mind when lighting up your scene and subject.
If you’re outdoors, aim to plan your shoot around the golden hours, which is the hour before sunrise and the hour before sunset. During these times, the light is soft, warm and flattering, which is why it makes our list of the top outdoor portrait photography tips. On the other hand, waiting until the middle of the day will leave you contending with direct sunlight, which can produce harsh shadows.
Whether you’re inside or outside, using an artificial light source is the best option. It will help you capture consistently well-lit images, and you won’t need to schedule your shoot around the sun.
#3 Apply colour theory for striking portraits
Once you’ve nailed the basics of shooting portraits, you’re ready to take your photography to the next level! Our advice is to focus on the styling of your portrait, and apply colour theory.
Chances are, you learned about the colour wheel in primary school, and that’s what we’re talking about. Colour theory involves combining two or more certain colours to create a mood and give your portrait a dramatic or harmonious feel.
You can apply colour theory to a few different elements of your portrait:
- Dressing your model in specific clothing
- Changing the portrait’s background (e.g. switching to a coloured backdrop)
- Placing coloured gels or filters over your light source
Compare the best cameras for portrait photography
Now that you know how to take good portraits, it’s time to look at some gear! Mirrorless and DSLR models are definitely the best cameras for portraits and will instantly improve the quality of your photos. Head over to the Ted’s Cameras website to check out their cameras and accessories, and don’t hesitate to ask the team any questions you have about portrait photography.