You don’t have to have a desire to become a professional photographer if you want to improve how you shoot human subjects.
You might be angling to save money, as paying a professional for portraits can be pricey these days, or perhaps photography is a passion of yours.
In these cases and others, it helps to know what it is that makes pics stand out. Charles Nucci started as just an interested amateur, but after making tons of adjustments over his career, he eventually figured out what makes a photo look smashing and what degrades them.
Below, we’ll show you how you can take your model shots from dull to fabulous simply by manipulating a few key factors.
1) Develop a friendly rapport with your model
Want reactions in your photos that look 100% natural (because they are)? If you want incredible results, don’t just work with your models, make an honest effort to become friends with them.
If you are shooting family or friends, this won’t be a problem whatsoever, but once you start taking photo of folks you have never met, eliciting authentic emotions from them can be tough if they are strangers.
However, all you really need to do is break the ice, and the guard most people put up can be lowered once you demonstrate you are a friendly, decent human being.
Instead of getting straight into a photo session after meeting, spend some time learning about each other.
Have a coffee or beer, and talk to each other about your lives. After some interesting conversation and a few laughs, you’ll will have formed a bond that will allow you to have a shooting session that is far more lively than if you were to just treat the arrangement like a sterile business transaction.
2) Get the right lens for the job
When you go to take portraits of people, it is advisable to change your lens, as the ones you use for landscapes or macro photography will not be the optimal tools for the job you are about to do.
When it comes to taking pictures of human subjects, professional photographers will typically go for a lens between 18 to 55 mm.
Many prefer to go big, as using 55 mm lens can create a blur effect in the background. This emphasizes the foreground, which is where our model will be situated.
3) Play around with light
Light and how it is used is one of the most important aspects of photography. Its position, intensity, and creative use can make or break a shot all on its own.
Generally speaking, you want light to illuminate your subject rather than shade it, which is what happens when your light source comes from behind.
Beyond this rule of thumb, though, don’t be scared to bend other maxims surrounding this variable.
The low angle and less intense light of morning and late afternoon/evening can make your shots look epic, and by using various filters, cool effects can be created.