If you are passionate about photography you most likely invested some money in a decent camera and lens, or lenses. You read, talk and share about photography whenever you can. This turns you into the family personal portrait photographer. There’s no way to escape the curse 🙂
It is better to learn a few tricks to get the job done quick and leave your family and relatives with a drop jaw.
Understand DOF and make it your best friend
Depth of field, or DOF, is what makes those backgrounds blurred. Converting everything into a colorful pastel and at the same time making your foreground, and model, stand out in almost 3D style.
So, lesson 1: learn how to use your lens at maximum aperture.
Remember that at f1.4 if you’re 1 meter away and focus on the tip of the nose the eyes will most likely be out of focus. DOF is the distance (depth) where your subject is in focus. It always follows this rule:
Area of focus = from 1/3 from focus point to 2/3 after focus point.
Lesson 2: easy with sharpening, contrast and saturation.
It turns out portraits turn out better if you turn your settings (or post process) down. The picture above has -1 contrast, almost no sharpening and no saturation or levels boost. I’ve used the light to make her face stand out and at the same time have a colorful background.
Which brings us to lesson 3: light is key!
This photo was taken with the sun in the back of the model and used a ~2 meter wide silver reflector to light up the face. The reflector will add diffuse light helping bringing out her eyes.
I gave you tip 1 to 3. The 4th is, if you’re taking a shot to showcase your work get a model as lovely and natural as the one I had for this shot. It will be 80% of your shot.