One of the main secrets of good portraits is the act of posing. If you have the good fortune of being able to work with a model with good acting skills, you'll get some incredible shots – and, to be honest, you won’t be doing much more than controlling the camera and the lights.
On the other hand, if you need to direct a model to achieve what you are proposing to capture, then directing skills are crucial. Practice your skills, be nice to people and above all, be professional and respectful.
There is nothing more uncomfortable for someone who is posing for the camera than a disrespectful photographer. Capturing narrower portions of a scene is popular with portrait photographers. Photo by Bruce Dixon on Unsplash
4. Bad Lens Choice
Photography wouldn't be as beautiful as it is if it wasn't for the way lenses render reality. Some lenses are extremely popular among portrait photographers, but if you’re just setting out on this rocky yet splendid road, it’s highly likely you'll have some optical limitations when making your photographs.
Wide-angle lenses (anything below 50mm) are meant for capturing scenes in a broader way than our regular vision. The smaller the focal length (measured in millimeters), the wider the visual spectrum you can get. These sorts of lenses are not recommended for portraiture because they distort reality; when shooting at close range, the results can be very funny.
Telephoto lenses (anything above 50mm), on the other hand, are designed to capture narrower portions of a scene. Even when a 50mm should work just fine, consider trying (if you can, rent one before just buying it, please) an 85mm lens. This is the most popular focal length among portrait photographers, not just because of the beautiful way it represents reality, but also because of its fast aperture. Great focus and framing make this a really interesting portrait. Photo by Hisu Lee on Unsplash
Nothing is more frustrating than capturing a beautiful photograph that looks awesome on our camera's LCD screen, only to find out later that it was out of focus. This is a common occurrence when you’re in a rush. Try to keep things calm, and always make sure that your portraits are precisely focused. Since you’ll be doing this under controlled situations, you can also try manual focusing. You'll be amazed at your focusing skills.
Also important to know is that when you work with fast lenses (like f/1.8 ~ f/1.2) in a close-up portrait, the area of focus will become so narrow that you might get a nose tip in extreme focus, but the cheeks and eyes will show some blurriness. This could be the effect you want; but either way, it’s important for you to know how these fast – and expensive – lenses work.
If you are looking to take your portrait photography to the next level, take a look at The Art Of Portrait Photography from Photzy.
Every photographer should keep in mind that practice will make your photography better. This is a beautiful discipline that invites us to never stop learning – and that should make you feel calm because there’s no need to rush. If you truly love photography, your skills will slowly develop throughout your whole life. But constant practice is key to healthy growth. Further Resources