As a professional photographer, being able to take the perfect portrait can be the difference between a one-off, ad-hoc job and a regular portrait photography gig. Impressing your client and specialising in a particular format can help with ongoing work and help you to stand out from a competitive marketplace.
Here at Halsys, we specialise in delivering digital imaging excellence and we’ve put together some advanced tips for experienced professional photographers to help you to enhance your portrait photography and provide high-quality prints to customers.
Using a Flash Gun
Your camera should have a flash gun installed already, but the power can vary, so purchasing your own separate flash gun is a great idea to guarantee a brighter burst of light when taking your photos.
This means that you can have more control over settings and then apply smaller apertures, which increases your depth of field, which is especially useful when taking a portrait including more than one person.
Because of the detachable nature of a flash gun, you can trigger it wirelessly using a remote control and take advantage of a flash from a different angle. This allows you to control lighting and sculpt the light to create better quality photos. You can also trigger more than one flash for complex lighting situations.
Brightening your portrait subjects can be tricky, but using a reflector is an instant way to easily add more light to a subject where you can bounce light back onto your clients and avoid problematic shadowing.
You can buy reflectors in various different colours, usually white, silver and gold, depending on the type of light and effect you want to create for your subjects. They can be double-sided and have detachable covers too. White reflectors are effective as diffusers and can help to limit strong, direct sunlight that can impact a photo.
The software you’re using to organise your portraits can have a big impact on the overall quality of your prints too. ID-Shoot enables you to reduce production times and minimise errors, especially when taking professional portrait shots in schools or other events. It’s also incredibly easy to organise your portraits and produce school record images straight from ID-Shoot.
On-site proofing is simple to access and you can easily provide students with proof cards, order references and unique username and passwords for online ordering. You can create a seamless process that enables you to concentrate on taking the best photos that you can, safe with the knowledge that the rest of your processes are taken care of.
Focusing on your Subject
When shooting portraits, it’s most appropriate to set a wide aperture at first (around f/2.8-f/5.6) to capture a low depth of field, so your subject stands out against a less focused background. However, the depth field you’re using when photographing can decrease to your portrait’s detriment when you apply wide apertures (specifically f/2.8 or faster), so it’s essential that you manage to focus properly on your subjects. Out-of-focus facial features can occur with a sub-standard depth field.
Focusing on the eyes, when applying narrow compositions and the head when using wider compositions is a good general rule. Using more detailed, pinpoint focusing is possible when you use a single autofocus point. For balanced composition, you can apply auto focus points to the top corners of your shot and over your subject’s eyes so your subject is more off-centre for balance.
For more tips and advice about enhancing your portrait photography with any Halsys products, get in touch with our experienced team today.