What is portrait photography you ask ? Well, according to Google it is a photograph of a person or group of people that captures the personality of the subject by using effective lighting, backdrops, and poses. Now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about my experience with Portrait Photography or to put in other words – My Introduction to Portrait Photography.

Me being the naive person that I’ve always been watched this video on YouTube and like any other aspiring photographer felt this urge to go out and take portrait of someone. I swear, in my head I thought that the pictures are gonna turn out so well and that I’ll be an amazing photographer now that I’ve a little idea about aperture, ISO and shutter speed. Well, to be honest, I didn’t really like how the pictures really turned out. I was actually trying really hard to recreate someone else’s work that I completed abandoned my own style.

Portrait photograph of a model
Picture taken with a wide angle lens of 55mm

Aside from deviating from my own style, I just couldn’t get my subjects eye in focus for most of the pictures. One important thing that I learned from this experience of mine is that practice makes perfect, you can’t expect to be an expert on something right off the bat, that’s just not how things work.

So, what exactly is considered perfect? For starters, I’d like to mention that art is subjective and what might work for you might not work for someone else. So, as long as you’re happy with your work that’s more than enough and if you’re not really satisfied with your work then keep on trying. You’ll figure out what works for you and sooner or later you’ll eventually get better at it.

Portrait photography
Picture taken with a wide angle lens of 55mm

As you can see from the above picture, I’m not really good at retouching my pictures, I don’t know how to retouch any of my pictures without making a complete mess of the photograph but hey give me a break, I’m still learning, I know I’ll get there one day.

Well, now that’s out of the way! I have gather 5 tips to follow when you’re doing portrait photography.

  1. Always focus on the eyes of the subject.
  2. Pre plan your shots and the mood that you’re going for before the shoot.
  3. Always shoot in RAW if you can as it will allow you to bring back the exposure or colours in post production if by any chance you messed up during the shoot.
  4. Always keep the ISO as low as possible to avoid getting grain in the picture or if you’re going for that grainy look then it’s completely up to you.
  5. Try to get to know your model and make them feel comfortable, that would break the ice between you and the model and it would be easier to direct him/her/they.

As for the lens, I would highly recommend you to shoot with a 55mm lens with the aperture opening to the widest range possible to introduce that blurry background and don’t worry if you don’t have a 55mm lens you can use any other lens just be mindful of what kinda lens you’re using as that can dictate how your portraits are gonna show up. If you’re using a wide angle lens then it’s for the best to keep your subject away from the camera to avoid distorting the face of your subject.

Close up portrait photography
Picture taken with a wide angle lens of 18.00mm

Wide angle lens tends to give your subject that oval look and a big nose which no one wants in their picture or maybe that’s exactly the look you’re going for then it’s completely fine. You can also use telephoto lens for close ups but do keep in mind that telephoto lens will make your subjects face very flat. So, it’s important to know what kinda lens you’re using before going out for a shoot.

All lenses comes with few restrictions and if you’re just starting out then I’ll recommend you to use only a single type of lens. That would help you to think outside of the box and be more creative with your photography. If you have any other questions then just comment down below and I’ll be more than happy to get back to you.

Probably the one picture that I like where I didn’t mess up the focus.