4 Basics photography Tip to Improve Portrait or Headshot Photos

Family portrait or Headshot for Corporate world photography tips can have huge variations from simple tweaks to your camera settings to the seemingly impossible job of getting children to stay still.

Although many photographers decide to upgrade to a decent DSLR for more control when they get family pictures or pictures of friends, getting great shots of folks is not always as simple it might seem.

For this first blog, we’ll start off with the basic principles on aperture, shutter speed and lens choice, the next series of article will focus on …focusing and image composition techniques.

Whether you’re taking portraits of friends and family or you’ve been hired to photograph a Corporate Business Headshot on-location, and whether you’re shooting in a pristine studio or outside in your local park, the helpful tips below will help to become an improved portrait or headshot photographer.

1. What is exposure compensation?

Your camera’s metering system plays an essential role in picture-taking.

It controls how much light should enter the camera to make an accurate exposure.

It’s very smart, but it’s not completely accurate. The problem with metering is just take an average reading of the scene.

Usually this assumption comes out right, but a metering system can have difficulties every time a frame is focused by areas of extreme brightness or darkness.

Watch this youtube video that explains Exposure compensation

When ever shooting portraits, light pores and skin tones can certainly trick the camera into underexposing the shot.

You’ll notice this more when shooting full-face photographs or when discover lots of white in the scene – if you have photographed wedding,  you metering system can go crazy on the white bride dress.

Shooting in Aperture priority for this specific case might not be recommended.  We will discuss this in another blog entry.

To get started with, try dialing in up to +1 stop of positive Exposure Compensation to lighten up. Review your shots, of course, if you feel you they need to be lightened further, increase it more.


2. Aperture tip

When shooting portraits, it can best to set a wide aperture (around f/2. 8-f/5. 6) to catch a shallow depth of field, so the background behind your subject is nicely blurred, making them stand out better.

Take in Aperture Priority function to control depth of field; in this method your DSLR will helpfully set the shutter acceleration for a correct coverage.

Some portrait lenses (Canon F1.2 85mn) can have even larger maximum apertures (from f/1. 4 to f/2. 8) in order to blur the backgrounds even further.

Difference between f5.6 and f1.8 is the background blur effect


3. What should I do with my Shutter Speed?

Shutter speed controls how sharp is your image.

Shooting a waterfall to get the silky effect (slow shutter speed) versus shooting an action sport scene (fast shutter speed) requires understanding of what the shutter speed does for you.

A general rule, when shooting family portrait or headshot, make sure your shutter is always higher than your focal length.

For instance at 85mm at  1/160 sec shutter speed is a good start.

F1.2 with 85 mn lens.  Our shutter speed was around 1/160

Although it won’t help if your subject is moving around quickly, don’t forget to use your camera’s anti-shake system as well.

Not every zoom lens will feature this technology though, but if you contain it – use it. You’ll be able to shoot handheld at much lower shutter speeds than you would otherwise normally be able to do but still come away with pin-sharp shots.

4. Why or When do I need to change my ISO?

Let’s say you have set the aperture and you don’t want to change it such as blurring the background effect as explained above.

Now if your subject is moving,  you might need a high shutter speed in order to freeze the action and avoid any ghosting effect.

You want to keep your photo sharp. Right?

In this case, you will boost your ISO.

By doing this, your camera light meter will tell you your shot might end up overexposed. So now, you can increase your shutter speed to get the right amount of light getting into your camera.

This tip or trick will ensure to take sharp photos .

Increase ISO to increase your shutter speed when objects are moving

That it for our first blog entry.  If you have any comments,  please post it ! 🙂

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