Advanced Photography Tips

Camera Tips: Taking Better Portraits



It can be pretty challenging to shoot nice portraits of human beings. If you ask a person to pose, perhaps, the result will be an unnatural smile and the photo is not nice as expected.

But the good news is that I have listed several simple and easy tips below and you can follow these tips to shoot nice portraits of your family or friends. As I have tried them for my photography, these tips prove to be very effective.

Below are the five tips for shooting nicer portraits.

  1. Help them feel comfortable

It seems to be very obvious, right? But it can be very challenging unless you know how to engage with the subject.

Some crazy jokes can be very effective (or it’s nice to make stupid faces for the children) to help the subject feel relaxed. You should not start shooting when making the subject stay in a rigid posing gesture, because this may cause your subjects feel tense. A friendly talk to them will be very nice. Try to drive them smile and shoot a quick shot when they are not paying attention to your shooting action

After a moment, hopefully they are not aware of the presence of your camera!

Camera Tips: Taking Better Portraits

Camera Tips: Taking Better Portraits


  1. Don’t shoot under the harsh light

You should not shoot photos in a day that is overcast, because the direct light from the sun is not good at all.

If your location is a region with the sunshine available all around the year, look for some shadows. You should attempt to shoot photos in which the sun is just allowed to one side of the aimed subjects. By this way, these subjects are not squinted into the sun and the sunlight will strike one side of their faces, which create shadows of the less softness.

If the shooting condition is indoors, it is nice to mix the ambient light externally together with a flashgun to lower the heavy shadows which is produced by the flash. And the shadows can be further lowered by using a Sto-fen on the flashgun.

  1. Change the focusing if needed

To make your focusing on the portraits become more precise, you should select the single point autofocus and then locate this focus point over the subject’s eye.

If you find your subject at one angle, you should have the focus positioned on the closer eyes, as the DOF will extend behind the focal point.

  1. Make sure to have the right focusing

To achieve the very precise focusing on the portrait, turn the camera into the single point autofocus and have this point targeted over the subject’s eye.

If the position of the subject is at an angle, have the focusing point positioned at one eye of the closer distance. This will help extend the depth of field behind the focal point.

  1. Set A Small Depth Of Field

The depth of field of a nice portrait is often small so that the background is blurred to highlight the main subject.

With this setting, it is like getting the subject out of the image and washing out any distracting details. The aperture shall be set to the maximum level in order to make the depth of field small.

  1. Shooting interesting angles

 There are many things to say about this, but below I’d like to list some tips to make your photos become interesting

Don’t shoot the photo of a person straight on to your camera. The photo may become boring. Instead, to make the gestures more impressive, you can ask your subjects to tilt their heads a little bit. Turning sideways to the camera or twisting the upper body back towards the camera lens also helps to make nice photos. The most important here is to shoot the subject at new and interesting curves and angles to help them have the best posing gestures.

As a photographer, try to find the good side of a person and shoot it. This is often quite obvious, so you won’t have to worry about not being able to find it out.

Shooting Action Photos with Your DSLR Camera


To achieve the well-exposed photos on subjects that are moving may be very challenging and you will need to have certain technical knowledge. Below, I’d like to list some practical tips for obtaining great results on action photos:

DSLR Camera To Shoot Action Photo

DSLR Camera To Shoot Action Photo

The autofocus mode should be adjusted. To have sharp images of moving subjects, the autofocus mode should be switched to continuous mode (commonly, you’ll see AF-C with Nikons and AI Servo with Canons). When you select this mode, the camera focus will be constantly adjusted to  track the moving subject. Continuous mode is also known as a predictive mode, because the focus will be changed based on the prediction of the subject moving direction after the split-second delay to wait for the mirror to be raised and the shutter to be opened in your camera.

You should know when to use manual focus. In certain sports, it is not so difficult to know the place that a player will come into (for example, in football, the goalkeeper will always stay in the front of the goal). In case a object is moving very quickly (the ball, for instance), the autofocus of the camera may get confused as well as struggle to track that moving object. In this situation, it is recommended that you should have a focusing point preset (the goal or the goalkeeper) and using the manual focus become easier for shooting photos faster.

Use your AF points. You should activate multiple autofocus points when you are capturing images using the continuous autofocus mode. By doing so, the camera can select its own focusing points. But, for the manual focus, a single autofocus point will be better to achieve more precise images.

The shutter speed should be set higher. To capture pin-sharp images, the shutter speed needs to be fast. I often use the shutter speed that is higher than 1/500. For several certain sports, the speed needs to be at least 1/1000. When shooting fast moving subjects, you should use the TV / S mode as the shutter speed is prioritized and other settings will be automatically applied based on the shutter speed.

The depth of field should be small. You will have greater action photos if just the main subject is highlighted while the background is blurred. This technique helps you have a better feeling about the moving speed of the subject. You can adjust the aperture setting to lower down the depth of field.

The fill-in flash should be used. The camera pop-up flash can be very useful for shooting action photos. Firstly, the subject can be illuminated and you’ll have a wider range of apertures to select. Secondly, you’ll find a “flash and blur” technique when using the flash. In this technique, with the selection of a slow shutter speed you easily find the flash fired manually when you start to shoot the photos. The subject will be frozen, while creating blurred streaks in the background.

The ISO can be set higher. If you have configured other settings and still don’t have enough light for the image sensor at last, you can consider setting the higher ISO. But keep in mind that the higher the ISO setting, the greater the noise you will find in your photo.