Everyone who starts out to mingle into photography for sure wants to get fantastic shots. Apart from shooting landscapes and nowadays a lot of candid street photography there is the art of glamour and fashion as well.
Most of the later mentioned themes are often taken in a clean studio environment and starting out you might think you need loads of expensive equipment.
It is not as bad as you might think. Not having a studio or lighting you have to go more creative to get your settings, but it is doable on a small budget. There are so many different ways to go - just google it in one of the DIY sections of photography. If you have some ladders, string, clamps, a bed sheet and some tape you might be already off half the way. But getting good portraits might just mean going out and using sun light. I knew that I wanted to reflect light so I took a couple of sheets of white foam-board, which can be cheap acquired at a local hardware store.
Working outside in different locations is just the exact opposite from studio shooting, especially for portraits. The focus will be the same - the person posing, but all the elements around will contribute to the final product or you have to crop in camera quite tight. Also, the studio presents some more challenging lighting situations, as the photographer needs to create the light, rather than modify what the sun is providing.
Here some tips for shooting portraits that I’ve found helpfull.
Have the clock in mind. Not in terms of thinking of time, but for direction to your model. It’s confusing to ask them to turn right or left sometimes. Speaking about turning clockwise or counter-clockwise is easier.
Concerning lenses I mostly use something between about 80 to 200 mm, apart from shooting some environmental portraits where I use 24 mm or 28 mm lenses. If you shoot a cropped sensor camera, don’t forget to include this into your choice of lens. I often lean towards the 135 mm f/2.0 lens from Nikon or the Bokeh Monster from Praktika.
Using flashes I set my camera to manual mode, at ISO to 100 (or 200) and my shutter speed to 1/125. Regardless the aperture you choose, big or shallow depth of field, the eyes are what really tell the story of a portrait. Your focus should always be on the eyes.
Here some Images I took lately in a bar.