This is the largest collection of portrait photography tips ever assembled on a single page of the Internet. Especially where brides are wearing white dresses, the bride’s teeth need to be perfect.
Since the photographer is further away from the model, the photographer has to use a very low aperture to get shallow depth-of-field in this shot.
I’m sure this photo uses fill flash as well, but notice how the sand and the white surfboard can be great reflectors? A large proportion of the readers of Digital Photography School classify themselves as beginners – so we thought it might be helpful to have a page set up that collates some of our Digital Photography Tips for Beginners. Below is just a selection of some of our digital photography tips and tutorials aimed more at the beginner photographer. Over 96 photographers commented on that facebook comment with their hard earned lessons, and I grabbed the most popular lessons from the group to share here.
There is nothing–at all-wrong with looking at great photography to get creative inspiration.
Spending just 5 or 10 minutes to learn how to use the histogram can make a huge difference in your photography. For most (but not all) photography, I recommend using a single autofocus point rather than allowing the camera to choose several points.
Several of our Improve Photography community commented that they wish they wouldn’t have wasted their money on cheap tripods.
When I saw this tip, which was submitted by Roel Knol, Chand Dumbris, Patsy J Lander, on the Facebook page, I knew this one had to be included in the list. Most photographers buy a flash with their new camera, but most beginners just aim the flash head right at the subject and shoot.
This photo illustrates two principles: (1) This is a great use of exposure compensation to get a bright and warm feeling, and (2) Yes, it is apparently possible to be TOO in love with your camera. I have strong feelings about the importance of using digital image editing in our photography.
I often get emails from brand new beginning photographers asking what lens they should buy because their 18-55 kit lens isn’t sharp enough. I read this comment by Krista Barton DeVries on our Facebook fan page and I knew this one had to be included in the article. I read this hard-earned lesson sent in by Troy Browder and I had to laugh, because any pro photographer who has been around for a while has been burned. Don’t you wish the camera manufacturers would get on the ball with adding swivel screens to all DSLRs? Oh, and you DEFINITELY don’t want to miss this article on posing people for group photos. About the AuthorJim Harmer Facebook Twitter Google+Jim Harmer is the founder of Improve Photography, and host of the popular Improve Photography Podcast.
Today I want to continue on the same train of thought with 10 more tips for adding a little spice to your portraits. Framing is a technique where by you draw attention to one element of an image by framing it with another element of the image.
You could do it by placing your subject in a window or doorway, have them look through a small gap or even use their hands around their face. Shooting with a wide angle lens attached to your camera can help create some memorable shots when you’re doing portrait photography.
It can also give a wide open and dramatic impact when your subject is in an impressive setting. The person in your portrait is the main point of interest – however sometimes when you place them into different contexts with different backgrounds you can dramatically alter the mood in a shot. While other times a dramatic or colorful background can help your subject really stand out. Horizontal and Vertical framings are not the only options when it comes to shooting portraits. The key with the above three methods is to use a slow enough shutter speed to capture the movement. One way to ensure that your subject captures the attention of the viewer of your portrait is to fill the frame with their face.
I have a friend who regularly goes out on the streets around Melbourne looking for interesting people to photograph.
When he finds someone that he finds interesting he approaches them, asks if they’d pose for him, he quickly finds a suitable background and then shoots off a handful of shots quickly (if they give him permission of course). The result is that he has the most wonderful collection of photographs of people of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds. While many of us spend most of our time photographing our loved ones – perhaps it’d be an interesting exercise to shoot interesting strangers once in a while?


Could have a digital photography Brazilian school, I’m not very good in English and have to keep trying to decipher parts unknown to! Good post and good advice, of course there are some really good subjects in there too which helps. He's an 'out of the box' character, and said I can play, so I will have some fun with this now..
I enjoyed your comments and images,I have been a photographer for 40 years and I am still finding much enjoyment in the media.
Had he not, he might have forgotten to bring a large bucket of water to dump on the model’s head. A I was looking for lessons that many photographers procrastinate learning and it ends up keeping them back from progressing as photographers. A I hope that this article teaches you many ways to save yourself from making rookie mistakes (like I still seem to do every day!).
A Spend the time thinking and thinking of what type of photo you want to create and how you can do it. A Directional light throws pleasing shadows on the subject and highlights the natural curvature of the face. A When many photographers learn to use one focus point, they often use only the center focus point. A The cheapies might seem like good deals, but you’ll end up buying four or five before you finally break down and buy a good one that will last your lifetime. A Personally, I spent about the first year of my photography focused on the tiny little technical details, hoping my photography would improve.
A If you point the flash at the ceiling or a side wall and bounce the flash onto the model, you’ll get significantly softer and more flattering light. A I felt like my head was already spinning just trying to understand the aperture, so the thought of changing the exposure in aperture priority was a daunting task when I started out.
A In fact, I had a conversation with Dustin Olsen (who is working with me at Improve Photography now), about digital image editing a couple days ago and was glad to hear that he feels just like I do. A Many photographers (including a lot of great photographers) like to take 10 or 15 shots of each shot. A When shooting a group photo when you want to use somewhat shallow depth of field, make sure to focus on the person closest to the camera. I have only been shooting DSLR for 2 years and found them all helpful and true especially 2 and 3 both of those I need to research more! Sometimes putting person nearest to lens out-of-focus can point your audience to the real subject of the photo. We covered everything from altering your perspective as a photographer, to experimenting with lighting, to shooting candidly. It might not be the type of shot you take of your wife or girlfriend (unless she’s in a playful mood) but using these focal lengths will enlarge parts of the face or body that are on the edge of the frame more than what is in the centre. Mix your framing up in each shoot that you do and you’ll add variety to the type of shots you take. While getting your images straight can be important in when shooting in these formats holding your camera on a more diagonal angle can also inject a little fun into your images. It inspired me to write a post similar to this on my own blog, but from the client’s point of view!
I only photo family but the key for me is to have the subject in a place or time that evokes an emotion. Thanks for the info given is very useful for me who was studying in the world of photography. Repoussoir is the spot-on accurate term for visual elements on the edge(s) of the frame which are utilized to draw the viewer’s eye into the image. I have been experimenting with High key and high contrast portrait which seems to produce good results. A I use it when shooting a wedding to make sure that the bride’s dress is not overexposed, I use it when shooting landscapes in low light to make sure I am gathering enough light, etc. If you haven’t yet learned how to fire the flash off-camera, I recommend checking out my lighting gear recommendations page. A To do this, they focus on the eye of the subject or on the correct place for a landscape, and then recompose the picture while holding the shutter button half-way down. Just set down your camera, do the finger composition thingy, and everything will fix itself.
A I learned too late that great photography is about interesting light and strong composition.
A If you understand what shutter speed, aperture, and ISO do, you’ll quickly learn how to shoot in manual. A Personally, I like to make sure that every picture I take is different from the previous one, even if the difference is only slight.


A This is also true for shooting couples where one person is slightly in front of the other person. I don’t do any studio shooting right now but if I decide to go that route later on, I’m sure a few of these will be helpful to know going in!
To do this use a large aperture which will create a narrow depth of field and focus upon something in front of or behind your subject. To do this again choose a wide aperture but focus well in front or behind anything that is in your image (you’ll need to switch to manual focussing to achieve this). IE nonetheless is the marketplace chief and a huge part of people will pass over your great writing due to this problem. I am big into photography but live in a small town where the only thing to take pictures of is scenery and family so I am not experienced in taking portraits but after reading these tips I am more confident! I have a project that I'm simply now working on, and I have been at the look out for such information. I was amazed to see that the vast majority of things you mention in the list are things that we are already doing, instinctively. A friend has asked me to take his photo for a website, and this has given me some great ideas!
Normal lighting in a house or during the heat of the day is not flattering on skin; however, once light passes through a window, it is very soft and diffused. A After composing to the correct composition, the photographer then finishes pressing in the shutter button.
A Perhaps the biggest mistake beginning photographers make when starting to shoot in manual mode is that they expect to nail the shot the first time.
Exposure compensation is simply a way of telling the camera that the exposure it is picking is not what you want. A Just like a painter can put whatever she wants in a painting, I feel that I can do whatever I want to my photos in Photoshop as long as I don’t lie and tell people it is a representation of the actual scene. A 99% of sharpness problems that I see are caused by poor shooting technique, and not a cheap lens. A If I see a scene, I’ll shoot it once, analyze the picture, change my angle or the exposure slightly, and then shoot again. A Many, many times I have made the mistake of focusing on someone in the group who is one or two rows back, but this always make the shot look blurry. I’m sure if we put our heads together we could come up with plenty of other techniques and ideas to add a little variety to our portrait photography.
Check the Batteries, Re-format your cards, test fire every camera and lens combo to make sure you are ready for anything that comes your way. If you sit down for a minute with your camera manual and learn to change the focus point, then you will likely get a much larger percentage of your shots in focus.
If you’re passionate about this topic too, check out this article on why I think digital image editing is perfectly okay. A Once the photographer masters the fundamentals, then a new lens is an important investment and the sharpness will definitely improve. A There are few photographers who love getting a new lens in the mail more than I do, but I have to agree that if you really want your pictures to improve, spending a little money on a reflector or other cheap lighting accessories will do much more to improve your photography. A Rather than just ripping the shutter to get multiple shots of the scene, I like to change each shot just slightly as I work the scene. A With time, I’ve learned to ALWAYS focus on the person in the group closest to the camera.
A Just put the trigger on the hot shoe of your camera (the hook on the top of your DSLR) and attach the flash receiver to the bottom of ANY flash. A You’ll get faster and faster at judging the correct settings, but you have to accept the fact that it will take a few tries for each set up. A You set the exposure compensation and then the camera will choose the setting that it things is the correct exposure and then add or remove a little brightness according to what exposure compensation you choose. A This makes me slow down and not get stuck with the first shot of the scene, but rather keep changing until I find the exact right angle. Work your photography like a surgeon making tactical strikes rather than a trash man just trying to do the same thing over and over again. A It probably isn’t necessary to buy a 5d mark II until that is the weak link in your photography. I love gear, but I feel bad when I hear photographers say they feel limited by their beginner gear when, in reality, they should probably just get out there and shoot more.



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