9 portrait photography tips professional studios don’t want you to know

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Essential Portrait Photography Tips

Essential Portrait Photography Tips: 06 Focusing tips

When using wide apertures (especially at f/2.8 or faster), your depth of focus decreases dramatically, so it’s crucial your focusing is bang on.

Otherwise you could end up with out-of-focus facial features; the person’s nose may be sharp but the eyes are soft. With tightly composed photos, focus on the eyes; with wider compositions, focus on the head.

To help with pinpoint focusing, manually select a single autofocus (AF) point.

The tried-and-tested pro technique is to set the central AF point, half-press the shutter button to focus on the eyes/head, then recompose to position them off to one side before fully pressing the button – this is often a much faster way of shooting than fiddling with individual AF points.

Alternatively, set AF points in the top corners and position them over your subject’s eyes/head and take your shot.

Either way will help you to position your subjects off-centre for a more attractive and dynamic composition.

Essential Portrait Photography Tips: 07 Using fill flash on sunny days

Although it may seem odd to use flash when the sun’s out, that’s precisely the time to use it!

The sun can cause all sorts of problems for portrait photographers; harsh shadows across faces, unbalanced exposures and burnt-out highlights.

Use a bit of ‘fill flash’ and you’ll get instantly improved portraits.

Shoot in Av mode and your camera will capture a much more balanced exposure, as your flash lights up your subject while the camera exposes for the background.

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