The Best Tips to Take Pictures of People

A picture says a thousand words. And sometimes, it’s all you need to say.

Take a few minutes to explore how to improve your photography skills by learning some simple tips.

Your camera is one of the most valuable tools in your photography kit. Whether you’re looking for portraits of a specific person or simply capturing a special moment, your camera can help bring those images to life. Here are a few pointers to help you get the best pictures possible.

1. Camera Settings

There are two things you need to do when taking a photo: Set your camera settings (exposure, aperture, and shutter speed) and point and shoot.

Exposure is your camera’s ability to accurately capture light. Exposure is measured in f-stops and is expressed numerically: a value of 1.0 is equivalent to a 1:1 reproduction. To set the correct exposure for a scene, choose an f-stop (such as 2.8, 4, 5.6 or 16), which is the size of the hole your lens creates in the diaphragm of your camera. The smaller the hole, the darker the image. You’ll also need to consider whether to use a tripod, handheld mode, or autofocus.

Shutter speed refers to how long your camera takes to close and open the aperture. Shutter speed also affects depth of field, which means that objects within a certain range of distances from the camera will appear sharp and others will be blurry. For example, if you want a shot of a flower but also want a blurrier background, you can decrease your shutter speed. A fast shutter speed lets in more light than a slower speed.

Aperture controls the depth of field: the distance between the closest and furthest points that appear clear in your image. A smaller aperture creates a shallower depth of field. This means that more of the image will be in focus. When the aperture is wide open, the depth of field is narrow and only a small amount of the image will be in focus.

2. Point and Shoot

If you want to take pictures of your kids or grandkids, you’re probably used to point-and-shoot cameras. These are easy to use and have a single button. When you press the button, the camera’s lens automatically opens, it focuses on the subject, and the picture is taken.

These cameras are a quick and easy way to get the shots you want, but if you’re looking to take the best portrait of a person, you need to use a different type of camera.

Digital cameras with more advanced features include:

4. Panorama Mode

The term “panorama” refers to a photograph created by stitching together several individual photos into a seamless, horizontal or vertical format. It’s an exciting way to capture a 360-degree view of a subject, or take a picture of a room.

Panorama is usually achieved using a technique called “stitching,” in which multiple photographs are combined using computer software.

5. Back Up Your Photos

Keep copies of your files. Whether you store your images on a hard drive, online, or on removable media like a memory card, it’s a good idea to make a backup copy of your images. Back up your images so that if you lose your originals, you’ll still have copies of them.

6. Portrait Lighting

One of the best ways to take pictures of people is to do a few test shots to see what works best. Once you have the right lighting, you can keep your main subject in the same position and just move the light around.

There are many ways to control the direction and intensity of the light. You can create a soft light (called backlighting) that falls from above and is reflected on to the face. This type of lighting highlights the facial features and minimizes shadows. It can be tricky to get the right balance of light to prevent the eyes from appearing sunken or too prominent.

Alternatively, you can use a front-light (or sidelight) that comes from the side, creating a sharp outline of the nose, chin, and forehead. This type of lighting gives a flattering look to the face, showing the face’s shape.

7. Background

The background is the area behind your subject that you wish to keep out of the photo. It can be a wall, or a window, a book, or a person. It doesn’t matter whether the background is a solid color or a pattern, as long as it helps to establish a frame for your subject.

Keep the background uniform and simple, so that you can easily recognize what’s going on in the photo. If there’s too much background, your subject will be too small in the photo and it will look out of proportion.

8. Positioning the Subject

As you experiment with different types of lighting, remember to keep the subject in the center of the frame. You may find that a subject positioned slightly to one side looks better.

9. Posture

Try to keep your subject’s posture straight, with their feet facing toward the camera. Try to make sure they are looking directly at the camera, with their eyes level with the camera’s viewfinder.

10. Faces

When you’re photographing a person, try to get the head in the middle of the frame and their eyes either at the center of the frame or slightly off center. Avoid shooting from above or below.

11. Cameras

The quality of a picture will be better if you use a camera with a good zoom lens. The longer the focal length of the lens, the closer you can zoom in on a subject. You can get good results with a 50mm or 85mm lens, and better results with a longer focal length.