Final tips from our professional photographer
“To photograph people, it helps to be a people person with a fairly social personality, as that’s going to help you connect with your subjects,” explains Annabel. “If you get on well with people – whatever their age – building a good rapport will help them to relax, and then the shoot becomes a two-way collaboration rather than you against them with your big, scary Canon camera!”
Bag a ‘safety shot’
This was what Annabel calls a ‘safety shot’, which she shoots in the great light in doorways before heading outside. Standing and shooting down to Ayla – who was sat on the wooden floor and looking up – makes her eyes bigger.
Nik used a focal length of 170mm for a tight composition and ISO400 to enable a shutter speed of 1/200 sec for sharp shots. Behind her, Ayla’s mum made funny faces and Annabel was chatting and having fun with her to keep the mood light, which enabled Nik to capture this lovely cheeky grin.
Annabel encouraged Nik to use her One Shot drive mode. “Don’t point aimlessly and take loads of photos on Continuous mode, hoping for the best,” says Annabel, “One great shot is better than 20 average ones.”
Use natural light
Annabel is a big fan of shooting outdoors and relying on natural light, rather than using complicated and restrictive studio lights. “I prefer to get people outdoors as there is much more choice for interesting and atmospheric surroundings,” reveals Annabel.
“Using natural light is also quicker, giving me greater freedom, and I find it produces the most flattering, realistic results – you avoid lines on faces that harsh flash can produce.”
Use the central AF point
Annabel prefers to manually set the central AF (autofocus) point when shooting outdoor portraits. “It’s quicker to always use the central AF point, half pressing the shutter button to lock your focus and exposure, then recompose until happy with your framing, before fully pressing the shutter button to take the shot,” she explains.
Don’t be afraid to experiment
Try out new poses and get yourself into different positions when shooting portraits. “They won’t always work,” smiles Annabel, “but you won’t know until you try. Try shooting from a step ladder and get your subject to look up, or lie on the ground and get them to lie on their front and look at the camera. If a shot doesn’t work, laugh about it, learn from it, and move on to the next setup.”
Shot of the day!
“Nik was a great Apprentice who wasn’t afraid to push herself, and her efforts have resulted in this stunning outdoor portrait,” says Annabel. “A wide aperture of f/4 has knocked the background nicely out of focus.
“She’s not been afraid to pump up her ISO to 800, which has resulted in a fast shutter speed of 1/2000 sec, enabling her to freeze Sarah’s hair movement in the wind and to capture the striking pose.
“Her photo composition is the key to this shot’s success, with the two posts perfectly framing Sarah’s lovely body shape, along with the captivating look in her eyes.”