Portrait Photography Mistake No. 3: Too much depth of field
As alluded to previously, selecting a small aperture to create extensive depth of field isn’t always a good idea with a portrait.
If the background is busy or cluttered it may distract from your subject. Choosing a wider aperture, for example if/5.6 will often produce better results.
Even if the background isn’t heavily blurred, restricting the depth of field a little separates your subject from the surroundings giving them greater dominance in the shot.
If you find that the background isn’t as blurred as you would like, ask your subject to step forward, increasing the distance between them and it.
You could also switch to a longer focal length lens as this will result in less depth of field at the same aperture, although you will have to move further away from your subject to maintain the same composition.
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Portrait Photography Mistake No. 4: Unusual headwear
One of the all-time classic errors when shooting people is to not pay enough attention to the background and as a result end up with shots that have lampposts, trees or flagpoles sticking out of the top people’s heads.
It may be possible to avoid this by shooting with a wide aperture to blur the background, but it’s often just a case of taking a few steps to one side of the other to give them a different background.
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