How to take a portrait
Shooting portraits requires certain amounts of knowledge and skill, especially working with the light and shadows, and manipulating them to express a certain mood or create a dramatic effect on the character.
Our charity partner IdeasTap published this short tutorial that will take you through the basic steps of shooting portraits, as explained by documentary photographer and Ideas Tap member Owen Harvey:
According to Owen, here are the five elements we should consider when shooting portraits:
1. Pick a location
You could use anything – a plain grey backdrop in a studio or out in a field or garden. What matters is the subject, at the forefront of the image.
2. Choose your equipment
Owen’s using a DSLR camera and two flashes – but you could even just use a mobile phone.
3. Make technical choices
When using a DSLR, there are three technical considerations: ISO, aperture and shutter speed.
ISO: the lower the number, the cleaner the image. Start at around 400.
Aperture: anything under F5.6, the background becomes more out of focus and the subject becomes more isolated in the image. Anything higher, you have a larger depth of field, which means the whole of the image will be in focus.
Shutter speed: try to keep above 1/60 of a second. Below that you’ll start to get blurring of the image and camera shake.
4. Frame your image
Pick one of three: full length, half-length or a headshot. Keep it tight so there aren’t many distractions in the background.
5. Give it character
The most important thing is the subject – how do you portray them? Clothing says a lot. Personality: keep it natural, where you’re putting across a more serious or lighthearted persona.
Don't forget to check out Owen's work here