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Secrets of portrait photography

Jane McGuire

Jane McGuire

Adult Learning Editor, IDP Connect

First published on April 25,2018 Amended on April 25,2018

Here on the Floodlight editorial desk we love taking photos as much as you do. In fact, not a day goes by without a desk Snapchat competition or Instagram upload. Yet when it comes to taking the perfect portrait it’s an entirely different story.

Whether it’s on your iPhone or brand new DSLR, portrait photography is far more complicated than just posing for a selfie. To find out more, we went along to a course and picked up some top tips from our tutor and fellow students. If your friends are fed up of your out of focus close ups, this is for you!


1. Shutter speed definitely matters

There’s nothing worse than a half smile or a portrait where someone has been captured mid blink. To take a photo worth sharing on Facebook, use a high shutter speed. This is also vital if you're trying to take photographs or children or animals, as we all know keeping them still is nearby impossible.


2. Be more imaginative

portrait photography
Image via comicgeniusbook.com

No one likes the old school portraits – quite literally. It might not be as easy, but why not be more experimental when it comes to your portraits? Zoom in, think of what to include in the picture, change the focus of the portrait – just keep playing! 


3. Use a reflector

To get rid of those dark shadows and make your snap look more professional, use a reflector. These can be purchased in any photography shop and usually come with a silver and white cover. On a budget? Just hold up a big sheet of white card – you might feel stupid, but the results will be worth it.


4. Frame your subject

portrait photography
Image via digital-photography-school.com

Think about the composition; framing your subject gives depth and draws you into the image. 


5. Make your model laugh

There’s not many of us who enjoy standing still and just posing. If you feel awkward, the chances are your model will too. Get them to laugh, change their facial expression and move around for a more natural portrait.


6. The background is all important

portrait photography
Image via pinterest

If you are going for a more traditional headshot, a white background is always a winner. If you want to mix things up add a splash of colour, just keep experimenting! 


7. Take landscape and portrait

Mix things around so you have a wide variety of shots to look back on – you can always crop things down afterwards, but cannot add extra space.


8. Always shoot in colour

portrait photography
Image via pinterest

Again, it’s easy to change your photo into black and white afterwards, but you cannot add colour to a photograph, so get that sepia mode off!


Ready to grab your camera and have a go? Why not have a look at the portrait photography courses listed on our site and get snapping!

Whether you are looking for a new hobby, or the expertise to kick start a new career, we’re sure we’ll have just the course to help

Jane McGuire

Jane McGuire

Adult Learning Editor, IDP Connect

Jane McGuire received her BA (English) from the University of Loughborough. A yoga enthusiast with a sweet tooth, in her spare time you will probably find Jane in the gym or online shopping.

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