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  • Writer's picturePhil Davenport

Portraits in motion

Updated: May 19, 2021

People move around a lot as they're photographed, not to mention blink and constantly change their facial expressions and there's nothing worse than a photo of somebody half-blinking or smirking instead of smiling!

To avoid these problems, and to prevent motion blur appearing, you'll need to use a faster shutter speed.

This will also help to ensure sharp shots and avoid camera shake because more often than not you'll be shooting portraits handheld.

While in Aperture Priority mode and maintaining a wide aperture, to increase your shutter speed simply increase your ISO (from ISO100 to ISO400, say).

In low light (indoors and outside), you may need to increase it to ISO 1,600, 3,200 or even 6,400. A little grain is infinitely better than a blurry, useless photo.

Your choice of lens has a big impact on your portrait photos. For portraits with visual impact a wide-angle lens is a must. Shooting from a low angle will make your subject taller than they actually are. This is a great technique for fooling the eye and changing the perspective of objects and people, to add even more drama to a wide-angle shot, simply try tilting the camera to an angle.

A telephoto lens like a 70-200mm f/2.8 or f/4 is one of the best tools for creating stunning portraits. Enabling you to zoom in closer to focus more on your subject, you can then reduce the amount of background and foreground distractions on display.

Shooting with the Canon 24-105 often sold as a kit lens and deemed one of the most useful all-rounders for any photographer can of course capture beautiful portraits. Shooting wide open at 24mm means you can easily achieve close to that of a dedicated wide angle lens and at 105mm the background can be blurred to isolate the model.

Pay extra attention to the background, I tend to vary the angle often shooting from slightly above. Try and shoot at an f/stop number no greater than f/5.6 or lower if the lens allow.

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