Camera School - Portrait Tip Cards

Camera School - Portrait Tip Cards
S
C
H
O
O
L
TECHNIQUE TIPS CARDS
FLATTERING PORTRAITS
TIPS CARD PORTRAITS
MASTER YOUR SETTINGS TO
GIVE YOUR SHOTS
MORE IMPACT
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TIPS CARD PORTRAITS
REVIEW YOUR IMAGES TO
ENSURE GREAT
RESULTS
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Learn even more at
camera-school.com
TIPS CARD PORTRAITS
USE THE RULE-OF-THIRDS FOR
PROFESSIONAL
FRAMING
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TIPS CARD PORTRAITS
FINE-TUNE YOUR FOCUS FOR
SUPER-SHARP
PORTRAITS
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S
C
H
O
O
L
TECHNIQUE TIPS CARDS
FLATTERING PORTRAITS
How to use the rule-of-thirds
for professional framing
Learn even more at
camera-school.com
How to master your settings to
give your shots more impact
l POSE YOUR MODEL
l USE THE RULE-OF-THIRDS
l USE APERTURE-PRIORITY
Build a rapport with your model
and keep the conversation
flowing to keep them relaxed and
comfortable. Go on a short walk
until you find a colourful backdrop
you like the look of, then ask the
model to pose in a position you
like. Always ask for permission
first if you want to physically
move them into position.
When you’ve decided on a focal
point (usually the nearest eye),
you can achieve a pleasing
composition by placing it within
the frame using the rule-of-thirds.
This is when you divide your
scene up into nine equal boxes to
create a rule-of-thirds grid.
Positioning your focal point on
one of the four intersecting points
of the grid (called powerpoints)
will give you stronger framing.
Put your camera into its
aperture-priority mode, as this will
allow you to change the aperture
value. This is a hole inside the lens
that opens or closes to let in light
or restrict it. A wide aperture, such
as f/3.5-5.6 on a kit lens, lets in
the most light for faster shutter
speeds. This wide aperture will
also help you blur backgrounds.
l CHOOSE A FOCAL POINT
Most of the time the closest eye
should be the focal point of
a head and shoulders portrait – it
simply looks more flattering than
if the nose or lips are the sharpest
point of focus. Consider eyes-on
and eyes-off poses, where the
model is looking at you and away.
l THINK ABOUT SPACE
When you use the rule-of-thirds,
place the leading eye on the
intersecting line that allows the
model to look into the frame.
Having the model look into the
frame creates active space.
EXPERT TIP USE YOUR FEET TO ZOOM
If you’re using a prime portrait lens with a fixed focal
length you won’t be able to zoom in or out to make
your model larger or smaller in the frame. Instead, use your feet
to move backwards or forwards to change the scale.
l USE A PORTRAIT LENS
The ideal focal length for tight
head and shoulders portraits is
around 85mm. But this is around
50mm when using a camera with
an APS-C sensor due to the crop
factor. 50mm and 85mm lenses
have super-wide apertures,
usually f/1.8, to blur the
background further. Don’t have
a portrait lens? Set your kit lens
to 50mm and dial in the widest
aperture value (usually f/5.6 at
50mm) for similar results.
l ADJUST THE ISO
When you use aperture-priority
the camera works out the shutter
speed. You need to tweak the ISO
until you get a shutter speed of
1/100sec or faster to reduce
camera shake when using 50mm
or 85mm lenses.
l WORK IN JPEG
To keep things simple, we
suggest working in JPEG rather
than RAW, as this will allow you
to upload your shots without
having to edit them first.
EXPERT TIP USE A REFLECTOR
Flash can cause harsh, unflattering lighting on
portraits. Instead work outside and use the natural
light to light your model. If needed, bounce a little bit of light
back in with a reflector to fill in some of the shadows.
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How to fine-tune your focus
for super-sharp portraits
How to review your images
to ensure great results
l USE SINGLE-SERVO AF
l CHECK THE SHOT
l PERFECT THE EXPOSURE
After you’ve taken a picture, check
it on the back of your camera
using the Playback button. Zoom
in using the Playback Zoom button
and check that the leading eye is
pin-sharp. If you’re not happy with
the image, now is the time to
tweak your settings and take
another one.
If your pic is too bright or dark
you need to adjust your exposure
compensation (usually depicted
as a square with a + and - on it).
If it’s too bright, dial in -1 or -2
stops of negative exposure
compensation. If it’s too dark, add
in +1 or +2. Take another shot
and check that it looks right.
l MAKE SHAKE DISAPPEAR
l GET THE RIGHT BLUR
If you see camera shake – the
blur caused by handholding your
camera – make sure you’ve
opened the aperture as wide as it
will go and increase the ISO until
your shutter speed is at least
1/100sec. If the shake persists,
increase the ISO incrementally
until your shots are sharp.
You can draw the viewer’s eye to
your focal point by blurring the
background with a wide aperture.
If you’re using the widest aperture
available on your lens and the
background is too sharp, ask your
model to move away from it as
this extra distance will make it
easier to blur.
Many cameras have different
autofocus modes. For portraits it’s
best to use the Single-Servo
(AF-S) mode, which focuses once
and locks on when you half-press
the shutter. This is preferable to
the Continuous (AF-C) mode,
which will continually focus for as
long as you half-press the shutter.
l CHANGE THE AF AREA
When you’ve framed up on your
subject you’ll want to position
your active AF point over the
model’s nearest eye to make sure
this is the focal point. Many
cameras have an Auto AF mode
where the camera will decide
where to focus for you. This isn’t
ideal as it could focus anywhere
in the frame, including the
background. Instead, use your
camera’s Single-Point AF mode,
which will let you place a fine
point over the exact area you
want to be sharp. This area is
usually a red dot or square when
looking through the viewfinder.
l HALF-PRESS TO FOCUS
If there isn’t an active AF point in
your viewfinder close to where
the model’s nearest eye is, simply
set it to a nearby point. Now
half-press the shutter to focus on
the eye and keep the shutter
button half-pressed to lock the
focus. Recompose using the
rule-of-thirds and press the
shutter all the way home to take
the photo.
EXPERT TIP FOCUS IN BRIGHT CONDITIONS
Shooting towards the sun can produce flattering
portraits with hazy, diffused light from flare. This can
make it hard for cameras to autofocus though, so shield the
lens from the sun with your hand or a lens hood.
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EXPERT TIP INVEST IN A PORTRAIT LENS
Portrait prime lenses such as a 50mm (APS-C) or
85mm (full-frame) are essential if you want to take
your portraits more seriously. They usually have wide f/1.8 or
f/1.4 apertures to make it even easier to blur the background.
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