10 portrait photography mistakes every photographer makes (and how to fix them)

    | Photography Tips | Portraits | 20/06/2013 00:01am

    Most photographers take a portrait shot at some point. You might not think of it as such, you might think of it as a holiday photo, documentary photography shot or a family photo, but if there’s a person in it, it’s also portrait photography.

    10 portrait photography mistakes every photographer makes (and how to fix them)

    People photos can be particularly tricky to get right because many subjects have strong ideas about how they do and don’t want to appear, and not all are comfortable in front of the camera.

    In this article our head of testing, Angela Nicholson, explains some of the common mistakes that photographers make when shooting portraits and explains how to avoid them.

    Portrait Photography Mistake No. 1: Shooting wide

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    Although you can produce really funky shots with a wide-angle lens, few of them tend to find favour with the subjects.

    Wide-angle lenses make close subjects look much bigger than those that are further away and with a portrait this can mean a big nose, above a receding chin, on a small face with tiny eyes.

    It’s far more flattering to shoot from a little further away and use a longer lens as this will help keep the sitter’s facial features in proportion.

    While an effective focal length of 50mm (or wider) lens may be a good choice for an environmental portrait, where the subject is in their workplace, for example, and you’re not too close, something a little longer, perhaps around 70-85mm, is often regarded as a good choice for head and shoulders shot.

    Don’t forget, that a 50 mm lens is equivalent to around 75 mm on and an APS-C format SLR, so your standard prime lens can be an excellent choice.

    Longer telephoto lenses also work well, although you’ll need to stand further away so you need more space to work in.

    Using a longer lens has the added advantage of restricting depth of field so the background is blurred slightly putting greater emphasis on your subject.

    Portrait Photography Mistake No. 1: Shooting wide
    Portrait Photography Mistake No. 2: Eyes not sharp
    Portrait Photography Mistake No. 3: Too much depth of field
    Portrait Photography Mistake No. 4: Unusual headwear
    Portrait Photography Mistake No. 5: Depth of field to shallow
    Portrait Photography Mistake No. 6: Shooting from the wrong height
    Portrait Photography Mistake No. 7: Harsh shadows
    Portrait Photography Mistake No. 8: Redeye
    Portrait Photography Mistake No. 9: Too much detail
    Portrait Photography Mistake No. 10: Too far away


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    Posted on Thursday, June 20th, 2013 at 12:01 am under Photography Tips, Portraits.

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