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The Art of Portrait Photography

September 24th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Portrait photography is usually used at functions such as birthdays, graduations and weddings and is used to hang decoratively on the wall in a way to look good and to intrigue people. These prints are normally blown up for a better effect and put in lovely looking frames to make the best of the photos.

As a general rule, portrait photography focuses mostly on the face of the model, but can involve the shoulders and even more of the body if requested from the photography professional. Portrait photography is a great way to capture the mood and emotion of a particular moment and provide great memories that can be remembered and looked at over and over again.

Unlike some of the other types of photography like landscape and wildlife, portrait photography became very popular when the camera was first discovered as people enjoyed taking lots of photos of their family and loved ones. It was a way of remembering and capturing the pure love and emotion of one single moment forever. They could also be hung on the wall in frames or put into photo albums so that other people that were visiting could admire the prints as well. Back in this time, however, the portrait photography was just black and white and not in colour, which is what we have got used to in modern times. However, for a better and more effective style of portrait photography, the photography professional is very often asked to take photos that are in black and white, and these look great when hung on a wall or placed in a photo frame. It is a very effective look, but unfortunately, not as forgiving for errors as colour photos tend to be.

As portrait photography grew more and more popular, the art of taking photos became more individual, leading to photography professionals creating their own personal styles. Different types of photography grew in popularity as well, leading to prints of landscapes and wildlife and other such things to make more modern and stylish wall hangings. People started to desire more dramatic backdrops for their portrait photography, and also different poses as well.

Any photography professional that is any good will know that people have different tastes and different styles and should accommodate for this when taking the photos. They are there to serve the people ordering the prints and should do exactly what is requested from them. Portrait photography has grown massively, and now there is a demand for photos for weddings, new babies, family portraits, graduations and suchlike.

These prints do not have to be massively expensive, but you will have to pay for the services that you get, so the more prints you want and the better you want them, as well as the size that you request will make the rate for your payment, and it is worth thinking of this when you decide on exactly what it is that you want.

Portrait photography makes for wonderful gifts for family and loved ones and should be thought about in the coming up of special occasions like birthdays, Christmas, wedding anniversaries and such like.


  1. jutje
    September 24th, 2011 at 20:14 | #1

    portrait photography?
    which mode is the best for shooting portrait and
    the Best lens for portrait photography is ?

  2. victor98_2001
    September 25th, 2011 at 01:16 | #2

    Program,TV,AV,Manual modes,could be able to use,you must use 75-300mm lens for portrait.
    References :

  3. The_Mouse
    September 25th, 2011 at 01:18 | #3

    Usually the optimum mode I was told to use is manual because you have the control as to focus and exposure.

    Best lens to use? Not sure if there is "the best" lens – depends on what band is your camera but preferably a long lens on the longest focal length.

    At least that’s what we use when I was doing a short course on photography
    References :

  4. Krishn K
    September 25th, 2011 at 01:20 | #4

    Mode of the camera used for portrait photography depends on the lightening \conditions. But use a long focal length lanes (150 to 200 mm for 35 mm frame) as it isolates the subject from background clutter. use aperture reasonably open ie 5.6 or so. try to take darker back ground but avoid black one.
    References :

  5. fhotoace
    September 25th, 2011 at 01:22 | #5

    The traditional 35mm portrait lenses were from the classic 85mm f/1.8 to the other classic 105mm f/2.5. You will notice these are rather fast lenses. Photographers usually shoot their subjects with the lens wide open to reduce distracting backgrounds. Lenses longer than 105mm tend to flatten the facial features, lenses shorter than 85mm lengthen them.

    These lens lengths are assuming you are using a 35mm (or full frame) camera. If you are using a Nikon or Canon lens with magnification factors or 1.5x or 1.6x, then the lens on your camera must be shorter that the above mentioned lengths.

    85mm would convert to about a 55mm lens and the 105mm a 65mm lens. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that photographers using DSLR camera bodies typically use zoom lenses rather than fixed focal length lenses. Nikon’s 24-85mm f/2.8 and Canon’s 24-70mm f/2.8 lenses are popular as the utility zoom lens.
    References :
    Editorial, sports and glamour photographer

  6. vienna2001
    September 25th, 2011 at 01:24 | #6

    For 35mm photography the preferred focal length for head-and-shoulders photography is between 85 and 105mm.

    On a DSLR with FOV crop, you use the same focal-length lenses. Using a 55mm instead of an 85 will introduce unwanted perspective distortion.
    References :

  7. Rob Nock
    September 25th, 2011 at 01:26 | #7

    MODE: The Mode question depends as much on the camera as anything else. Manual mode or aperture priority are my preferences but some cameras have a portrait mode that may be good. Use trial and error for the best setting or ask a user’s group for your specific brand of camera.

    LENS: This is a highly personal choice depending on the type of camera (NOT BRAND) –

    For 35mm I usually use a 100mm f2.5. That lens has good "bokeh" for portraits.

    For digital cameras I have had success with a manual focus 50mm macro lens designed for 35mm on a camera with a 2x crop factor.

    For medium format cameras anything from about 80mm to 200mm is usually good.

    But the other factor is – What kind of portraits do you want to take. For posed formal shots the above recommendation apply. If you are trying to do less formal "candid" portraits or groups an auto focus zoom lens from moderate wide angle to moderate telephoto would usually be ideal.

    One other option to consider if you are using a digital camera is a LensBaby. This is a special lens that can be twisted and tilted to get all kinds of unique areas of focus. It is totally manual focus and aperture.

    Find out more here –


    Good luck, email me if you want more information.
    References :
    Personal experience, 40+ years of photography.

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