Portrait Photography Guide for Beginners

Portrait Photography is one of the finest category of taking photographs of faces. And when it comes to Portraits, you must have seen a lot of examples around. This technique is as simple as taking a photograph and as much hard to manipulate the photograph afterwards. There are many factors which lead to perfect portrait photograph.

Create Portraits

We will be discussing here how to take beautiful portrait captures and then manipulate them too, because just normal photographs doesn’t makes the sense at all. If you want the portrait to look good, you need some effects and pitches on your Captured Photograph.

This is a two step process including capturing techniques, and also the most important one, manipulating and adding custom effects using Image Editors in the Portrait Photographs.

Capturing Portraits

Listed below 10 points you need to keep in mind before capturing Portrait Photographs. Try to dominate the adjustments to get better results. These are the tips from Most Popular Photographers around the world.

  1. Avoid direct, harsh sunlight from any direction.
  2. Focus on the faces area and take your picture. Don’t Capture non-focused photographs.
  3. Preview the photographs with different lenses, and choose the most suitable one.
  4. Try to make the Subject Static.
  5. Fill up the shadows, try not to include shadows in the photo.
  6. Make your subject comfortable.
  7. Don’t depend only on your Camera’s flash, get natural lighting.
  8. Try to capture head and shoulders shot.
  9. Make your subject to have eye contact with the camera.
  10. Capture the photos and choose the most realistic one.
  11. Manipulate, process your photo after capturing.

Try to count these factors while doing Portrait Photography. It helps you to capture with perfect and natural exposure, with more realistic effect. If your capture is perfect, you won’t need extra photo manipulation in Image editors.

Portrait Photograph Manipulation

There are lot of Photo Editing Apps, Photoshop is my favorite, apart from Photoshop, I also use Acorn and Pixelmator for Mac. Acorn is somewhat low level editor, you can use Pixelmator or Photoshop, other alternative includes GIMP.

What we will be focusing here, is to sharpen the image because mostly Photographs taken from Less Distance comes out to be little blurry. Its because of the High ISO Level. Other things we will do, is adjust exposure and make every part of the Photograph detailed, this is what actually important part, making areas of your photograph detailed.

I have come across a very nicely manipulated Portrait from PhotoTuts Tutorial.

Portrait Photography Example

This tutorial is again depicting and leading to the exposure and sharpness of the photograph, you can see the previous photo and portrait after adding effects, there’s a lot of difference. You can check out there Video Tutorial too.

Portrait Photo Before Processing

Before Manipulation - Portrait Photograph

Let’s have a look at how should one make your photo more detailed and look portrait friendly. We have taken a portrait photograph and we will be manipulating it. Above is the Photograph before manipulation of effects. It is the normal one, just what we get after pressing the shutter button of the Camera.

I am doing this manipulation in Pixelmator and not Photoshop. So, lets get to work.

Give Photo Natural Exposure

Open up your photo in Pixelmator and create up its Duplicate Layer, we will be working on the Duplicate Layer for now.

Click on Filter, then Quartz Composer and then Concert, as all photos aren’t similar, you need to adjust the values according to the one which best suits the face exposure.

Glow up your Photo

Now again go to Quartz Composer, and then to Monochrome and adjust the values as follows, not exactly, adjust such that the photo looks natural and better.

Blue the Background Properly

Since the subject is face you are focusing, you need to blur up the background properly to make the portrait look better.

Also, you can add effects to make the photograph more better, but after that, it will not look realistic.

Portrait Photo After Processing

Final Photo - Portrait Photograph

This is the final processed Image you will get after adding the effects. You can see the difference in the previous Photo and the manipulated photo, the face is more focusing in the Processed Photo and background is blurred properly. You can add as many effects to them, Photoshop is preferred and works well if you are manipulating, though since my license was expired, I used Pixelmator.

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