In the next couple of weeks I will not just be featuring the best portraits on Shadowness but I will also include some awesome tutorials in conjunction with Photokore, a new stock image site specializing in the Asian market, to help you master the techniques required for outstanding photos such as the ones below.
Part I: Outstanding Female Portraits
Five Keys to Awesome Portraits like the Ones Above by
1. Be Prepared
If you’re taking your first portrait shots, your model is a family member, or friend. Keep in mind that they’re posing for you as a favor, and are probably a bit nervous. So, don’t waste their time. Set up your shot before they arrive. The location, background, and lighting should be ready, and you should also have already taken some test shots so even your camera settings are prepared. Don’t keep your model waiting around, and you’ll get to photograph them when they are fresh.
2. Keep it Simple
The more complex your scene is, the more difficult it will be to get a shot that is really stunning. Always try to keep your backgrounds (and foregrounds) as uncluttered as possible. If you’re taking portraits for the first time, working with natural light is a good way to start. As you get some experience and confidence, you can begin experimenting with the use of artificial light (but keep your lighting setup simple and use as few lights as possible).
3. Keep Your Model Involved and Inspired
Talk to them. Tell them what kind of shots you’re trying to take before you even press the shutter. As you’re shooting, encourage them. Tell them when they’ve got that ‘great pose’ or ‘great smile’. In between shots, show them what you’ve taken. A model that is involved will result in better portraits, and they also won’t get tired as quickly!
4. Tripod and a Cable Release
A tripod is important for one main reason - keeping your images sharp. Every time you put your hand on the shutter you risk movement - a cable release will allow you to take sharp images without touching the camera.
5. Lower your aperture
Lowering the aperture blurs the background - an effect called bokeh. This is one of the simplest ways to make your portrait photography look more professional in a hurry.
Blurring the background has the effect of making your subject to pop out of the background. Many consumer digital cameras aren’t capable of going lower than F/4 or so, but even this is enough to make you notice a difference.
Check out more awesome tutorials on stock and portrait photography at
Sep 11th, 2011