Tripod is a necessity for any kind of photography, Tripods are helpful in making your shots stable and minimizing the chances of blur images. For Portrait Photography tripods are not mandatory but will definitely help you to get high-quality pictures with minimum effort. So, let’s go through How To Shoot Portrait On A Tripod? with step by step process.
How To Shoot Portrait On A Tripod? Step by Step
STEP 1: CHOOSE THE EQUIPMENT’S
This is the first and most important step. You need to choose your equipment carefully, if you are shooting portraits, make sure you have a sturdy Tripod & Camera with you. Make sure both of them are working properly. If possible carry an extra battery with you or replace the batteries before starting for your shoot.
STEP 2: CHOOSE THE LOCATION
This is a very important step to achieve high-quality pictures, Make sure to find a location where there are no people moving around. If possible go to an empty beach or park. Most importantly keep a distance between yourself and strangers.
Step 3: Attach Your Camera To A Tripod With An Appropriate Head For It (Preferably Ball Head)
Your tripod should be well adjusted to the height you want for your shot before placing it on the floor, check if the fluid head of the tripod is leveled up properly and the tripod is stable on the ground.
Step 4: Set Up Your Camera On A Tripod
Mount your camera on a tripod, For Portraits, it’s necessary to have a portrait head, and if you don’t have one use a normal fluid head and rotate 90 degrees and lock it. Position your camera so that it is comfortably facing your subject without getting any shadow, make sure there are no light sources coming from behind your subject. Make sure you’ve chosen an appropriate lens for your shot, focal length also plays an important role in portraits as wider angles tend to distort the face of the person. A tripod helps us to get tack sharp images at lower ISO with longer shutter speeds which will ultimately give you better control over Depth Of Field, So set up your ISO appropriately to get good noise-free images.
Step 5: Manually Focus Your Subject And Take The Shot
Manual focus is a must while shooting portraits, Auto-focus will hunt for its correct focal point which definitely takes time and eventually ruin the shot. Turn off your autofocus or switch it into manual mode then adjust your camera’s focusing ring until you see that perfect sharpness on the LCD screen of your camera. Focus on eyes, f/2.8 for one eye is ideal but if you have enough light go with f/4 lens aperture especially when using longer lenses. You can also play around with different angles by moving yourself to give a more dramatic look to the portrait. Always shoot in RAW not JPEG, it gives you more flexibility to tweak your images in post-processing.
STEP 5.1: APPROACH THE SUBJECT
With your Camera and Tripod set ready to shoot, approach the person sitting in front of you and ask him politely if he would like to take a photo with you. Chances are high that people will say “Yes”. If they say no, don’t make it awkward. For example: If you want to take a portrait of your wife/girlfriend, shoot it from waist height. It will give the perspective as if somebody is taking her photo and she is not aware of it or doing something silly.
STEP 5.2: COMPOSE YOUR SHOT
After getting permission from your subject now it’s time for composition. If you are using a camera with Auto-Focus, make sure to switch the focus to Manual Focus. It’s important because Auto-focus will not be able to focus on your subject if he/she is sitting too close or too far from your lens. This method always works for me. First, frame your shot so that your subject’s head or face is a little above the center of your frame.
STEP 6: PRESS THE BUTTON
Now it’s time to press the shutter button, but before that make sure you have checked the exposure information by watching your LCD/OLED monitor. Now with your free hand try to make a perfect frame as per the rule of thirds & also watch for the composition and exposure carefully. If you want to take a step further, check for the light using your camera’s LCD screen or by looking at the Light Meter option. You can also go with the hyper-focal distance technique for this purpose.
STEP 7: SHOOT WITH A DIFFERENT ANGLE
After getting your perfect shot, it’s time to move on next pose by changing your camera angle. Continue repeating this process until you are satisfied with your shots.
Step 8: Take Multiple Shots And Check The Histogram For Optimum Exposure
One-click is not enough when shooting portraits, You can take multiple shots of the same subject and check the histogram for optimum exposure that you can get from your image sensor. Make sure not to clip any highlights or shadows, use shadows and highlight tools if required to fine-tune your shot in post-production. If possible shoot in natural light always because it will give a dramatic look to your portrait and also won’t create any harsh shadows on the face. Take a few test shots and evaluate them carefully with 100% view so that you’ll be able to save yourself from missed shots during editing later on.
STEP 9: EDIT YOUR PICTURE
After getting all the photos you need now it’s time for post-processing. After opening your photo in Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw go with a basic setting for white balance, exposure, and clarity. Now with basic changes done to your photo, open it in Photoshop for post-processing. If you want to learn Adobe Lightroom then click here, if you want to learn Photoshop then click here.
With the help of a tripod, it becomes easy to take great portrait shots which can be used for professional portraits or just for family albums. In the process of getting high-quality images from your camera, you need to take multiple shots and check them carefully in post-processing to get that perfect shot that will suit your taste. A tripod helps us in achieving better control over Depth Of Field by adjusting aperture accordingly and finally gives maximum flexibility to work on our images during post-processing without compromising with quality.
If you have any queries feel free to ask me through a comment below, also don’t forget to share your valuable thoughts after reading this article “How To Shoot Portrait On A Tripod?”. Check out my other articles under photography tutorials Portrait Photography Tutorials.
This is the simplest way of shooting a portrait on a tripod. Keep reading Digital Camera World for more articles.
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