How to Ace Portrait Photography

Posted on Posted in Photography

Portrait photography can be defined as taking photos of a person or group of people in such a way that their facial features become the strongest part of the image. The background is kept out of focus and the subject that is being photographed is in focus only. An image that is displayed in portrait mode is taller than it is wider. It is used to take images of tall objects and also for personal portraits.

There is no doubt that this type of photography has more sentimental as well as personalized value. But, is it easy to do it? One thing you should know is that there are no hard and fast rules associated with this type of photography. It is an artistic effect so you should not be scared to experiment and to be creative. However, there are a few things to keep in consideration.


In order to create the depth effect which is significant in portrait photography, the subject should not be too far. In fact the distance of 2.5 meters or less is recommended. The background needs to be relatively further away. As the gap between the subject and the background becomes wider so does the depth effect. For instance, if the subject is standing against the wall there will be no such effect.


The results were found to be better in natural light rather than artificial lights indoor. Digital cameras and smart phone cameras have portrait mode, providing some additional lighting filters known as Portrait Lighting. This feature is not very reliable but gives nice results with little effort. Some of the experts suggest that you should try to find the shade and the sun should be behind the subject to provide light at the back. Soft, diffused light gives a real popping effect.

Aperture Adjustment

A wide aperture setting (f/2.8-f/5.6) is best to capture a shallow field depth, nicely blurred background, and a subject that is prominent. Some lenses used specially to make portrait photographs have even wider maximum apertures.

Shutter Speed

For best results, shutter speed should be higher than your effective focal length. It will also help you get away when shutter speed is slower using a wide angle lens. It is advised to use anti-shake system, which is a built-in feature in some cameras. If this feature is built-in the lens then the effect can be seen in the viewfinder.


A 70-200mm f/2.8 telephoto lens is amongst the best tools being used to create eye catching portrait photographs. It helps you to zoom in closer so as to focus more on the subject to help reduce distractions in the background.

So, here you go. There aren’t any difficult rules and techniques to look for. With these basic tips and a lot of experimentation, you can ace portrait photography.