6 Advanced Portrait Photography Techniques – How to Shoot Better Portraits

Professional Portrait Photography Tips & Guide

Would like to learn some advanced portrait photography techniques to brush up on your photography skills? You have come to the right page. How great is it to be able to capture the perfect image of nature, fashion models or your friend without having to venture outside?

Since modern cameras can produce incredible results in low light, taking an outdoor photo on a cloudy day can seem just as easy. But does it really pay to pack up the camera and head out into the great outdoors for good photos?

No matter how fantastic your photography kit may be, there are some advanced portrait photoshoot techniques and tricks that you need to know before setting out so take a look at these sections of the 6 best photoshoot tips.

Advanced Portrait Photography Techniques Topics

1. So What Should You Do First?

Whether you are shooting for a casual lifestyle, Instagram content or fashion portrait portfolio, getting the best possible image from your photoshoot is what counts. However, the qualities of photography are not always going to be visible when the shot is taken.

Different themes require different types of photography; for example, the colors that appear in a fashion photoshoot need to be very accurate and match closely to those from the real thing.

The first thing you need to do before actually starting the photoshoot is to check your camera settings for portraits. Different camera brands have different settings, for the Fujifilm cameras, check for the settings such as highlights, shadow, color, noise reduction, sharpness etc if you are shooting with custom settings.

Make sure to enable the features according to the basic portrait guides such as histogram, framing guidelines etc.

Remember to take a few test shots before you begin to check for overexposed highlights, shadows, composition and so on. Once you are happy with the settings and test shots, start your shooting.

In this advanced portrait guide, I will reveal the 6 best pro tips on how to shoot a fantastic outdoor fashion portrait. I am not an expert but I used what I have learned during my previous KL fashion photoshoot sessions downtown.

1. Cropping Portrait Photos

When photographing a portrait, always look at the person from the front to capture a good close up. You might want to frame your shot after the model poses and then take the shot.

In order to make the best composition, make sure you don’t crop off any limps of the model, including legs, arms, hands and so on. Do check out the cheat sheet below for the most accurate portrait cropping that will also make your photos look amazing.

Portrait Framing Cropping Guide

Many professional photographers use this composition/cropping method for the most stunning fashion portrait results. This will also make photographs easier for posting on social media sites.

The important thing about framing portrait shots is, never crop the joints of the body such as feet, arms, hands, knees, make sure to leave some headspace and leg space when you compose and frame your shot. Always try to keep the eye level at the same spot on the subject, even if they look over the shoulder or slightly away from you.

Using the Rule of thirds grid line will be able to help with the composition and framing of your subject. You’ll get the best results if you do this.

2. Finding The Best Natural Light

Never overlook your lighting when taking portraits. It makes or breaks the entire photoshoot. Every portrait photographers have their own style and I love to shoot portraits a little overexposed to make them looks dreamy. Thanks to the benefits of diffusion filter for portraits.

You should always take advantage of natural sunlight and the best time to shoot portraits when it’s available, however, sometimes it’s not possible to get good quality light on the subject. I recommend using a fast shutter speed and a lower ISO.

Natural Light Effect Advanced Portrait Photography Techniques & Tips
Shot with available natural light

If you are trying to shoot SOOC JPEG, you should also give yourself some time when taking shots, so that the background is not too dark or too bright and try to use natural light, if possible.

Even if you want to use flash, please remember that you should use a diffuser, so that you can avoid harsh light on your model. Depending on the natural light condition, you can set the camera in aperture priority mode.

Use a wider aperture (e.g F0.95, F1, F1.2, F1.4 etc) to blur out the background for a more flattering image. It all depends on the mood of your fashion photoshoot, whether you want to have the background in focus or out of focus.

By using the best natural light outdoor, you can achieve flattering and glamorous photos, which also give the subject a glowing feel (only when using the diffusion filter).

3. Use Different Composition Techniques

When we shoot different scenes, it is important to mix the same scene with different techniques. It is better for you to have a range of shots with different techniques and angles so that you have more shots in your collection.

A good composition can bring an effect to the audience, just like how a beautiful setting can improve a wedding photoshoot. As mentioned before, while composing a shot and try not to crop any limbs, you can also compose the subject on a suitable background with symmetry or leading lines.

The leading lines are the most commonly used to compose a shot because it offers a three-dimensional effect and most of us are attracted by the diagonal line. Leading lines are most used in portraits, street photography and landscape photography.

Either way, you can assist your model to pose / standstill at a certain spot and you will be the one to move around to create a composition and also try different camera angles.

4. Try Different Portrait Camera Angles

There are different ways to shoot, it all depends on your preference. You can shoot it from a tall point of view with flat light, or use the close-up and also a longer perspective if you want to add some unique points to the shot.

Try composing the shot with different camera angles, this will create a different mood. Whether it’s close-ups, high angles or low angles, different shots will be there to enhance the mood of the photograph.

  • Waist up portraits should be taken from the waist level
  • For the head and shoulders, shoot from the breast level
  • Close-up shots should be taken at eye level

This can also be achieved by moving your model around the scene, trying to avoid the ‘standard’ positions of the model. The idea is to make the photo look interesting from different angles.

It’s always good to have a variety of different angles in a portfolio and you can try this on your next shooting session. By mastering these advanced portrait photography techniques, you will be able to shoot better portraits.

5. Communicate with your Model

Be sure to communicate with your model, this will help you understand each other and be able to collaborate more naturally. This will help both of you understand each other’s wishes, limitations and objectives.

At the end of the day, communication will help both of you create a good working relationship and make the photoshoot more interesting and enjoyable. You can also achieve the results you’re looking for easily.

Try not to stress them out and let them go with the flow and be natural. Communication is key, let’s make it easy for you.

Make sure that the model has a full rest day before your shoot. They should have enough time to recover, rest and be mentally ready for the shoot. Have patience, every talent/model is different.

You can also guide your model with poses that you wanted to achieve.

6. Try Different Creative Portrait Poses

It is better to do homework and research before the shoot. Compile samples or study some portrait poses that you want for your photoshoot. Let your talent know that you want to achieve that kind of style.

Try out different creative poses and let your talent know what you want. Try simple poses and poses that show off the whole body.

The secret behind great portraits is to mix things up in the poses, positions and creative ideas. Try out creative poses and shoot in a creative environment like the beach, forest or rooftop. Mix things up!

Conclusion

These are some of the importance of advanced portrait photography techniques that you can learn. There is a saying, practice make perfect. Make your shoot more professional and effective by doing these 6 best pro tips for your next portrait session.

Know the right angle, lighting situation and proper direction of light to guide your talent. Create an original artistic style that’s eye-catching and unique. Use selective light to focus on the features of your talent like eyes, teeth and nose.

From cropping photos, composition techniques to camera angles, hope these pro tips & guides will be able to help any photographers out there who want to explore more fashion & casual lifestyle kinds of photoshoots.

If you are looking for a personal photographer in Malaysia for your casual photoshoot, feel free to contact me for a fun photoshoot session.

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