Today I am sharing with you some useful tips and techniques of Shooting Portrait Photographs, which I have learned, practiced and found useful after this span of time since I started my photography i.e since 2 years back. Shooting Portraits is my favorite type of photography, you can say it is also the reason for purchasing my first DSLR camera Nikon D3300. So before starting to take shots let's start from the basic that's the Camera Settings.
1. Set the Dial Mode.
Set the Camera Dial Mode at Aperture Priority Mode, it is widely used for shooting portrait and is also my favorite mode.
2. Keep ISO at Minimum Possible Level
Keep the ISO at the minimum possible level, because higher the ISO, higher the chances of noise in your shots. The Nikon D3300 has minimum ISO of 100.
3. Select the Picture Mode
Select the Picture Mode "Portrait", it will soften your subject's skin tones, but if you like vibrant colors you can use Vivid Mode also.
4. Set the Aperture to Widest Open
Lower down Aperture value at lowest number available in your lens, like in my case its F 1.8 as I I use Nikon 50mm 1.8G lens, it is an ideal lens for shooting portraits on a crop sensor camera. Remember to lower the F (Aperture) number widest the lens open means shallow the depth of field (soften background) and higher the F (Aperture) number lowest the lens open means a narrow depth of field.
Aperture - F 1.8 = Shallow depth of Field
Aperture - F 16 = Narrow depth of Field
5. Focus Point
Select the focus point of camera at Single Focus point, it will be easy for you to focus on your subject and also will bring sharpness in your portraits.
6. Manual Focus or Auto Focus
Use Manual Focus in case you have good command on focusing system, Nikon's focus system is well known for its accuracy and speed so in Nikon Cameras it is better to use Auto Focus instead of Manual Focus.
7. Selecting Output File Format
It is better to shoot your portraits in Raw Format rather than only JPEG, Raw Format provide you option to recover lost details of image and provide full control over editing your photographs in Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop or Nikon ViewNX.
8. Things to Consider Before Shooting Portraits
a. Lens Length
For Portrait shots use at least 50mm lens length for natural view of your subject. Nikon 50mm 1.8G lens , which is equal to 75mm on Nikon D3300 (being a crop sensor camera) is considered as great lens for Portrait Photography.
b. Frame the Scene Correctly
Fill the frame correctly as per your desire but not to crop subject at joints for example on knees and ankles etc.
c. Where to Focus.
The focus point of your portraits must be the subject's closest eye to you, it is the main focus point considered ideal for portrait photographs.
d. Shoot in Proper Lighting
For outdoor portraits if in direct sunlight keep your subject in shadow or use difuser to soften the sunlight and if not possible use flash at fill flash settings to avoid harsh shadows on your subject's face .
10. Here is the Result
Outdoor Portrait in Natural Light In door Portrait with Bounce Flash