BE­GIN­NER’S GUIDE: POR­TRAIT BA­SICS

FOL­LOW­ING ON FROM LAST MONTH’S BE­GIN­NER'S GUIDE TO POR­TRAIT COM­PO­SI­TION, WE LOOK AT THE KEY TECH­NIQUES YOU NEED TO KNOW TO EN­SURE THAT EV­ERY POR­TRAIT YOU TAKE IS AS SHARP AS POS­SI­BLE AND PER­FECTLY EX­POSED

Digital SLR Photography - - Contents - Words DANIEL LEZANO / Im­ages: CARO­LINE SCH­MIDT & DANIEL LEZANO

Get to grips with the ba­sics of por­trai­ture – in­clud­ing fo­cus­ing and ex­po­sure – and take con­trol of your im­ages

C L ARIT Y IS AT the heart of a great por­trait im­age and to en­sure your results are as clean and crisp as pos­si­ble, you need to have full con­trol of how you fo­cus and ex­pose the scene. The great news is that your cam­era is rammed full of modes and func­tions de­signed to han­dle the most chal­leng­ing of sit­u­a­tions, so you quite lit­er­ally have ev­ery­thing you need in your grasp to cap­ture per­fect results. How­ever hav­ing the modes at your dis­posal and know­ing which to set are two very dif­fer­ent things. By learn­ing which set­tings to se­lect and when to use them, you'll be able to han­dle a va­ri­ety of challenges and know ex­actly what to do to pre­vent sim­ple mis­takes from ruining your shots.

You'd be for­given for think­ing that the static na­ture of por­trai­ture means that fo­cus­ing and ex­po­sure should be a straight­for­ward matter that your cam­era can han­dle on its own. While this is true some of the time, there are oth­ers where things aren't so clear cut. For in­stance, when your sub­ject is par­tially ob­scured, you need to set up the cam­era to avoid it fo­cus­ing on the wrong thing. When the scene is overly dark or light in tone, leav­ing the me­ter­ing sys­tem to work things out for it­self can spell trou­ble. And of course, as well as se­lect­ing the cor­rect ex­po­sure, you'll want to choose the com­bi­na­tion of shut­ter speed and aper­ture that gives the most aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing results. We'll cover all these top­ics and more in this guide.

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