Simple tips for pretty portraits

by | Digital Photography Tips | 1 comment

I‘m still learning, along with you, how to take photos of people that really sparkle. What I do know is that you don’t need a DSLR to take gorgeous shots of your friends and family.

Just to illustrate, 5 of the photos below were taken with my 3 MP point and shoot and the other 7 with my 12 MP DSLR. (And to be fair these don’t have much, if any, post-processing.) Can you guest which ones?


Photographing people is more about art and technique than the equipment you’re using. Even iPhones can capture amazing pictures. Keep these 3 simple tips in mind to perfect your people pics!

1. Let there be light.

For the most eye-pleasing portraits, maximize natural light by getting outdoors or near a window. Your camera won’t have to work as hard to get good focus and exposure, thus improving your image.

2. You’re on candid camera.

While there is certainly a time and place for more posed portraits, the best shots are spur of the moment. A sideways glance or an expression can reveal your subject’s personality.  I often tell my family: “If you smile at me, I won’t take your picture.”

3. It’s ok to be shallow.

Have you ever noticed that an out of focus background makes the subject stand out? This is called shallow depth of field. You can help your camera do this in a few ways:

  • Maximize the distance between your subject and the background.
  • Make sure your camera chooses a focus point on your subject.
  • Use the portrait setting, if you have one.
  • Try out the manual settings and adjust your f-number to a lower value.

36 more fantastic tips

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1 Comment

  1. Jenn White

    yes, it’s TOTALLY skill, and only a little equipment. Good equipment does make things easier, but a little knowledge and a good eye go much farther. You have some wonderful photos here. I have to say, after this latest round of photography classes I’m inspired to do more portraits. I took a ton of pics at the show choir rehearsal tonight, I think some are pretty good. Thanks for the inspiration, and you have some WONDERFUL photos there!!
    Great work!!


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