Okay – Admit it. You really DO WANT your portrait photos to look fantastic, don’t you? Most people use their camera for one thing to capture portraits of their friends & family – whether they are staged or candid – and therefore it’s vitally important to understand the 9 things that you DO NOT want to do, or at least stringently avoid, when taking a portrait photo.
1. Avoid using the on-camera flash unit
By being on-axis with the camera’s lens, the super-bright, on-board flash is more often than not unflattering to your subject. The sharp, blue light (its color temperature is daylight balanced) flattens the contours of your subject’s face(s), washes out their skin and at the same time accentuates any blemishes on the skin. So either use a corded flash and bounce the light or find another light source if the surroundings are dark or use a tripod and lower your shutter speed. These options will allow you to play with the light more, and that’s what you want anyway.
2. Composition mistake #1
Watch the headroom, as in too much headroom . The problem with too much headroom is it looks like your subjects are swimming in space or something is going to fall on them. In addition, the inherent dynamics of proper framing is lost – tight framing directs the viewer’s eye; that’s one of your tools, so use it. Also avoid CUTTING OFF AT THE NECK, this is a classic mistake; either have the bottom frame line be just below the shoulders or just above the chin. The point of framing is to give your viewer a specific amount of information and no more. That way the image information that they do see is more specific and potent.
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