Quality Portrait Style Shots

Several people have asked me recently how to shoot quality portrait style shots. Since I am not a professional studio photographer, most of the time for me, it is a matter of pure luck and a lot of trial and error.

Soft Black and White Portrait
Copyright © 2007 Mississippi Photo Gallery

The odds of ending up with a great picture greatly increase in direct correlation with the number of pictures I take, so I take a ton of them!

My best photographs are usually the result of taking hundreds of pictures in a short period of time and not being afraid to experiment with several different camera settings for the same scene until I find exactly what I am looking for.

For these types of shots, like the one in this article, I adjust my camera settings for a shallow depth of field, blurring the background, while keeping the subject in focus, and I move in pretty close.

Later in the image editor, I used a basic filter (adding a few tweaks) because I personally preferred it in a soft black and white.

I usually take my photos outside, with natural lighting. This also allows me the freedom to enjoy outside activities and end up with much more candid shots instead of heavily posed scenes.

J. Cricket Walker

Small Business Marketing Consultant and Scenic Photographer
Copyright © 2007 J. Cricket Walker of Online Photography Magazine All Rights Reserved

  1. Paul

    being from the old school, I have to beg to differ. Learn your equipment and learn light. Take less pictures and take the right one first time. Only with kids and sports should you need to take hundreds.

  2. J. Cricket Walker
    J. Cricket Walker12-28-2007

    This does not indicate not knowing lighting or my equipment. It indicates not being afraid to experiment. Using digital, there simply isn’t a reason to be afraid to take a ton of pictures. There are so many things that change in just a single moment. I cannot count how many times a scene became brand new because of a change in expression or an animal suddenly entering the area I am shooting. We’re not talking controlled studio photography here. We are talking about getting some great snapshots that can result in portrait quality shots.

    My point is only that too many people, when they are first starting out, are afraid to try different things.

  3. Jimmy

    The Portrait shot on the page is very nice and has a timeless quality, due to the black and white and lack of period details in the frame.

    well done.

  4. Richard Hawkins
    Richard Hawkins10-31-2008

    Well done; Rather you took a hundred to get it or only one.
    It does not take a expert to see what is here.

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