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

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

    Portrait Photography Mistake No. 2: Eyes not sharp

    Tips from our professional photographer: always focus on the eyes

    As a general rule the eyes in a portrait image should be sharp. This is especially important if you’re shooting with the aperture wide open to restrict depth of field.

    Shallow depth of field is a great way of directing the viewer’s attention towards the subject, and if the wrong part of the image is sharp that’s where the viewer will look.

    With a portrait this means that it’s no good focusing on the sitter’s nose, the focus point needs to be right on one of the eyes.

    If you normally let the camera select the autofocus point for you, it’s time to take control and set it yourself. Your camera manual will explain exactly how to do this, but look for an option called something like one point or one area auto focusing.

    Alternatively, if your subject isn’t moving you could try focusing manually. In this case it’s worth using your camera’s live view mode and composing the image on screen with the camera on a tripod.

    It’s usually possible to magnify part of the scene so that you can be sure that the focus is spot-on. With a portrait you want to magnify the eyes and focus on them.

    An added advantage of shooting with the camera on a tripod and composing the image on the camera’s screen is that it’s easier to engage your subject in conversation, helping them to relax and making the shoot almost incidental.

    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


    Best camera focus techniques: 10 surefire ways to get sharp photos
    How to focus your camera for any subject or scene: free photography cheat sheet
    Getting sharp images: every photo technique you need to know starting out
    How to fine tune image sharpness using live view

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

    Tags: , ,

    Share This Page