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
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.