Up next in Photography Tips & Techniques (42 videos)
Capture your subject in the best light with these photography tips that cover everything from nature and still-life photography to fashion photography.
You Will Need
- A camera
- Telephoto lens
- And a subject
- Props (optional)
Select a subject and ask permission to shoot a portrait.
Select a scene in which to shoot the person.
Attach telephoto lens
Attach a long telephoto lens, such as an 80- to 200-millimeter lens or greater, to your camera and set it to the widest aperture possible. This will visually set off the subject from the background.
Select film & shutter speeds
Select the appropriate film speed and shutter speed to accompany your low aperture setting.
Place the subject in either full shade (preferable) or full sun (behind your shoulder) to minimize the shadows and contrast on their face.
Stand in front of subject
Stand a minimum of 10 to 15 feet in front of the subject, making sure they fill the frame.
Compose shot in viewfinder
Compose your shot in the viewfinder.
Meter on the subject
Meter on the subject.
Focus on subject’s eyes
Focus on the subject’s eyes.
Ask the subject to give you their most natural facial expression while maintaining direct eye contact. Suggest that they give you just a hint of a smile to make it more natural.
Count to three
Count to three. Then, wait a few seconds longer until your subject has relaxed completely.
Take your pictures
Take your pictures.
Thank your subject
When the shoot is finished, be sure to thank your subject for his or her time. Shooting a portrait is a shared experience, and you want your subject to come away not only with a good portrait, but good memories as well!