Tutorial: Portrait Photography

Portrait lenses

Avoid using a wide-angle lens or wide-angle focal length for portraiture. It takes you in too close to the subject and can give distortion. The nose, being closest to the camera, will appear larger than normal, while the ears can appear smaller.

Set a wide lens aperture for a narrow depth-of-field, which means that the background will appear out-of-focus. This helps to lift the subject away from the background. A perfect portrait lens in the EOS system is the EF 135mm f/2L USM – it combines a short telephoto length with a wide maximum aperture. Watch this video tutorial about the effects different lenses have on portrait photography.

Portrait settings
Canon cameras offer various settings to help you improve your portrait photography. On most models the portrait shooting mode activates the autoflash mode. Here, the camera will automatically fire the flash when the light drops below a certain level, or if the camera detects a backlit subject.

On some models the portrait mode also switches the camera to continuous shooting mode. Here, the shutter will keep firing for as long as you keep the shutter button depressed. It is worth taking at least two pictures in quick succession. Your subject will hear the shutter fire the first time and will relax. A second image shot within a second or so will show a less tense expression.

Enter the Gallery
Now you have read this tutorial we hope you have discovered many of the simple techniques that will make a difference to your next portrait photographs. So, set up a shoot, select your favourite images and enter them in the Gallery. Next month your photo could be displayed as one of the best!

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