Spontaneous portrait / Ten tips for portraiture

Looking for some photography tips and tricks? If you want tips on how to take a professional portrait photo, then learn how to use a camera from photography expert Tom Hayton in Barcelona.


Here are some tips on how to take great portrait photographs:

  1. Talk about topics that interest and therefore animate the subject (friends, family, holidays, good food and so on)
  2. Encourage your subject to look *through* the camera rather than at it
  3. Don’t keep the camera in front of your face throughout the entire process – eye contact with the subject will make them feel at ease
  4. Get a variety of perspectives for the shot by moving backwards and forwards (I almost always use a fixed or prime lens – i.e. a lens without a zoom which forces me to think about the composition)
  5. NEVER request a person to smile. This gives a horrible, fake result. If you want to get a smile, you need to make sure that they genuinely feel like smiling!
  6. It is often helpful to be slightly elevated above your subject
  7. A gentle touch on the shoulder can help build a sense of affinity (though you have to make sure that this is appropriate – it isn’t always the case!)
  8. Lock focus on the eyes- ensure the camera isn’t focused on something else!
  9. Consider how the shadows are falling on a subject because ugly shadows can destroy an attractive face. If needs be, move! This portrait was taken late in the day under soft (diffused) light. That means that the transitions from shadows to highlights across her face are lovely and smooth. In intense sunlight the shadows are much darker and angular and therefore not appealing.
  10. Use whatever props within reach to keep things flowing – I wanted my subject to be seated, so I gave her my coat to act as a cushion!

In this instance I also shot ”wide open”, meaning a huge aperture (f/1.8), creating very shallow depth of field, which blurred out the surroundings as you can see. This helps to focus the individual from the background.

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If you would like to learn more about how to take quality pictures, contact me via telephone on (+34) 622 075 396 or email me at tomhayton@gmail.com

Tip: Also, I offer special discounts {What´s This?} Have a look at my profileIf you want to learn more about how to take quality pictures, contact me via telephone on (+34) 622 075 396 Or email me at tomhayton@gmail.com


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