An Introduction to Portrait Photography

An Introduction to Portrait Photography

Currently, there are more than 12,125 freelance photographers employed in the United States, with an average starting salary of $22,000.

Freelance photographers can specialize in several fields of photography, from wildlife and outdoor photography to studio and portrait photography. It’s an ever-changing field that’s exciting to be a part of.

But whether you’re in it for a career or just interested in photography as a hobby, you might want to get started photographing people.

If you’re interested in learning more, keep reading as we introduce you to the basics of portrait photography.

What Is Portrait Photography

Portrait photography is a field of photography that focuses on communicating something deeper with its imagery than just a headshot would. Instead, portraiture aims to capture essential qualities and the subject’s essence.

In portrait photography, the face is typically the focus. Furthermore, how the photographer chooses to take the image can define what the photographer is trying to convey. 

Photography Tools and Equipment

To get started with portrait photography, you will need some equipment. Ideally, you want:

  • A DSLR camera, or a camera that can change lenses
  • A portrait photography lens

When you’re more advanced, you can think about adding off-camera flash, reflectors, backdrops, light meters, etc., but these are not essential to taking great portrait photographs. Having right type of equipment is very important for good photography, like live sports photography requires End zone cameras.

Portrait photography lenses ideally should be either telephoto or prime. Prime lenses offer sharper images with stunning bokeh (background blur), while telephoto allows you to separate the subject from the background by zooming in. Look for a lens with an aperture value between F/1.2 – F/4.

Editing Portrait Photography

If you want to edit photos, you can do a few things. First, if you shot your images in RAW format, you can edit them in applications such as Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop.

Here you can remove blemishes, adjust white balance and exposure, tweak the shadows and highlights, and use the background remover tool to remove unwanted backgrounds.

3 Quick Portrait Photography Tips

Knowing a few tips before getting started can help you advance your skills. So, below we’ve listed a few portrait photography tips that can help you take better portraits.

  • Understand lighting and how it affects your photographs because you will need this for both studio and on-location shoots
  • Always keep the focus on the eyes because if they aren’t sharp, the entire photo fails
  • Connect with your subject wherever possible, as this will result in more  relaxed, natural images

Branch Out Into The World of Portrait Photography

If you’ve never taken portrait images before, sometimes putting yourself out of your comfort zone can bring a fresh perspective to an old hobby. Getting started in portrait photography doesn’t take much, so don’t be afraid to branch out.

Ask friends or family to pose for you to get a feel for it. You never know; it could inspire your best work yet.

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About the Author: Piran Tarapore