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Portrait photography tips to perfect the perfect shot

Whether your passion is indoor studio photography or outdoor family shots, portrait photography is an art form which takes time, skill and experience to perfect.

The good news is that you can drastically improve the professional flair of your results by tweaking different individual elements. Here are some of our favourite tips:

1. Get the right camera...

If you're new to photography, upgrade your basic camera to a good DSLR as a starting point. If you are planning to do more than simply load selfies with loved ones on to social media, this will be a worthwhile investment. 

2. Know about exposure compensation

To elevate the quality of your photographs, look at the metering system on your camera. This will calculate the amount of light that needs to flow inward for the right exposure. It's extremely smart, but not entirely foolproof. Metering takes an average reading, which assumes a black and white midtone. It does tend to come out right, but if your picture frame has an area of extreme light or dark, you'll do better with a manual adjustment. Correct this with the exposure compensation features. Review and adjust further as necessary. You'll really notice the difference.

3. Side-on shots

If your model is facing the screen side on, then one of the eyes may be blurred if you use a wide aperture. Try dropping down to /5.6 to maximise the sharpness and balance of each eye. This is mostly used in filming a movie and most of the Best Movie Streaming Sites recommend this photography tip.

 4. Review shutter speed

As a rule, your shutter speed should be higher than the effective focal length of your camera. So, at 200 mm you'll want to be using a 1/250 second shutter speed as a minimum. Remember to use the anti-shake system on your camera too. Some are inbuilt around the sensor, but those built into the lens allow you to see the effect in the viewfinder.

5. Image stabilisation

If your lens has this technology, be sure to use it. It will give you incredibly sharp shots even when you shoot by hand and at low shutter speeds.

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6. Choose your lens carefully

This will make a big impact on your portrait shots. Where you want visual impact, choose a wide-angle lense. You can also make the subject look taller by shooting from a low angle. This changes the perspective of the model and accompanying objects by fooling the eye. Don't go too close though; distortion is never flattering! For extra drama in your wide-angled shot, tilt the camera slightly at an angle. Play with angles, props and lighting until you create the look and feel you are aiming for. Much of your success will come through time, experimentation and error!

Try these tips and see what effect they have on your photography results. Your new photos will look better on canvas prints than you thought they could. Remember that photography groups, blogs, magazines and clubs are all a great way to share ideas, techniques, styles and technology finds and you'll also enjoy the sense of community.

Which tips have you found to be the most useful for your portrait photography? We'd love to hear back from you!

This is a YourStory community post, written by one of our readers.The images and content in this post belong to their respective owners. If you feel that any content posted here is a violation of your copyright, please write to us at mystory@yourstory.com and we will take it down. There has been no commercial exchange by YourStory for the publication of this article.
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