Even if you don’t consider yourself a portrait photographer, sooner or later you’ll be asked to shoot some people pictures of family and friends. If you don’t feel up for the challenge, the quick tutorial below will supply all the confidence you need for getting the job done right.
Experienced photographer Miguel Quiles says, “I’ve been writing down every single portrait tip since starting my professional career.” For today’s episode he reviewed 15 years worth of notes to come up with five straightforward portrait hacks that are guaranteed to elevate your game.
The tips and tricks he explains can be accomplished by photographers of all skill levels, and include helpful techniques for shooting indoors and out. So take a close look, jot down a few notes, and the next time you’re asked to shoot portraits, your answer will be an emphatic “yes.”
Quiles begins with a simple practice routine he calls “the exposure game.” The idea is to photograph a prop under various lighting conditions using the Spot-metering mode, and try to guess the correct exposure settings within two stops. With a bit of practice you’ll be able to narrow the margin of error, and eventually nail exposure without even looking through the viewfinder.
Tip number two is to upgrade your “social skills,” and become more adept at directing subjects and putting them at ease. As he says, “Oftentimes what keeps us from getting great portraits isn’t the camera and lens we use, but rather our ability to communicate effectively with our model.” Quiles explains how he does that with success.
Quiles’ other suggestions include why you should take a “bokeh break” and free yourself from always shooting at maximum aperture. As he says, nothing makes photos stand out than doing things differently. As you watch the video and experiment with Quiles’ other simple hacks, these techniques will gradually become second nature.