How to take great portraits

One of my most favorite kinds of photos to take is portraits. You get to really capture every detail of that person. Here is how I take great portraits and some other things to keep in mind.

Great Portraits

What I think makes a great portrait is a from head to torso frame with the subject being in tack sharp focus and a beautiful blurred out background or a backdrop that separates them well.

The subject can either be looking at the camera or looking off into the distance. Each one tells its own story.

Here is how I capture my portraits.

Lenses and Aperture

I always use a prime lens. Something with an aperture range that goes to f2 or lower. However, when shooting that close to your subject, it can be very difficult to get the focus right on with the aperture wide open. 

I always focus on the eyes. If you want to shoot wide open, (which will blur out the noes and ears) focus on the closest eye. But I typically want my whole subjects face to be in focus, so I usually step the aperture up to f4. 

Outdoors and Studio Portraits

I mostly shoot my portraits outdoors. You just can’t beat the natural backdrops created by nature and the natural light.

Studio shoots are great too because of the amount of control you have over lighting and environment.


In post-production, I correct white balance, exposure, and composition. Then (if I need to) I will use frequency separation to clean up blemishes and remove acne scabs and stray hairs. I don’t ever remove anything that is them unless specifically asked by the client. Things like freckles moles and even scars. These defects make the person who they are and I do not want to remove that.


I would love to see how you implement these techniques in your portraits. You can share them in the comments below.

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