Photographers often find that creating portraits is the hardest task for a number of reasons. Whether you’re planning your own self-portrait or you’re a budding photographer, avoiding the common mistakes of the novice photographer is as simple as following the guidelines below.
1. Poor Composition Within The Background
The most common mistake any photographer makes is a poor photo composition. Oftentimes, there’s a lot of blank space above the subject’s head. This is not only distracting, but highly unprofessional. It’s easy enough to remedy this problem by cropping out the space above the subject’s head.
2. A Background That’s Too Distracting
When a person is doing something in your photo, having too much of the background in focus takes the focal point away from the photographed subject. An easy way to fix this problem is by simply paying attention to the way the person is positioned. A longer lens may also help you avoid this problem as it eliminates the amount of background visible in the final image.
3. Not Enough Focus In The Background
It may have been just stated that having too much of a background is often seen as a distraction, but having too much of the background blurred out may pose a similar problem. Don’t open your aperture to its widest setting! Maintain enough focus so your subject is still clearly visible and your background isn’t too distracting. Don’t forget that oftentimes, a blurry background may also mean a blurry subject in the foreground!
4. Avoid Eyes That Are Out Of Focus
Portraiture really requires you as a photographer to capture the essence of your subject. The person in the photo should have the right facial expressions when captured on camera, but eyes are perhaps the hardest to really photograph. Make sure to always focus on the eyes of your subject.
What happens if only one eye is visible or not facing your camera directly? Make sure to focus on the one eye that faces your camera closest.
5. Shutter Speed Not Fast Enough
If your shutter speed is much too slow, sudden movement even in the slightest can cause a seriously blurry image. Usually, it is recommended to use 1/250th of a second to remedy the potential for any movement. Any slower than the mentioned speed will results in serious problems attempting the portraiture.
6. Not Enough Lighting
Not enough lighting can make your subject vulnerable to poor exposure on camera. Though most modern cameras are equipped with the ability to take decent photos in the dark, it’s not something you should use for a portrait photograph. You want the right mood lighting to highlight the person in your photos.High contrast or hard lighting is something you should avoid at all costs in this type of photography as you want soft romantic lines so-to speak. Of course, opting for light that’s much too soft will also result in a less-than-dramatic portrait.
7. Not Taking Plenty Of Photos
When it comes to editing the images that you’ve captured, you’ll feel frustrated when you don’t have enough photos too choose from. Make sure you capture plenty of material on camera and have a wide range of expressions that you can select. It’s best to create a wide variety of different images as you never know what will work the best. Plus, if you’re getting paid to photograph a portrait, it will please your client to have options.
There are plenty of novice mistakes to make with portrait photography. One may think that capturing a person sitting reasonably still is all it takes, but portraiture goes beyond that. You need the right skills to capture the poetry behind the lens!