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3.1: Taking photos of people

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    In this chapter, we will talk about how to take photos of people. It is important to apply basic techniques to real situations. You will use several skills to take good photos of people. Keep these directions in mind and practice as much as possible with your digital camera. Your photos will improve with practice.

    • Emphasizing people more than background
    • Meeting the eye level of your subject
    • Using rule of thirds
    Emphasizing people more than backgrounds:
    • The photo shown on the right has a problem- the subject is too small to recognize. This problem occurs often when taking a picture of people in sightseeing backgrounds. Fill the frame with your subject. In the case of the sample photo, you should come close to your subject or make your subject come to your camera.
    • You don’t need to include the whole face in the frame. When taking a picture of people, many people try to capture the whole body or face in the photo. You can break this stereotype. The photo on the right is a very good photo even though part of head is out of the frame.

    The subject is too small Not necessary to take a whole face

    Adjust to the eyelevel of your subject:

    Avoid shooting a subject from a low or high position. Sometimes this kind of photo is funny but not desirable. The rule of thumb for photographing portrait is to make sure the subject’s eyes are in sharp focus.


    The camera was too high

    Using the rule of thirds:

    As mentioned in the section 2, one of popular rules of composition is the rule of thirds. First, draw imaginary lines dividing the photo into thirds both horizontally and vertically as shown on the right. Second, place important elements of the composition where those lines intersect. The focus lock technique is very useful for moving the subject in the frame.


    The rule of thirds gives stability


    Getting the correct amount of light

    • Change EV setting
    • Use flash when backlight is present
    Using exposure compensation:

    If you think the light is too bright or dark, increase or decrease the value of EV in accordance with the brightness of the background. The photo shown on the right is too dark. You should increase EV value to make the photo brighter.


    The photo taken at sunset time

    Using a flash when there is too much light behind your subjectsote

    Because faces of people are dark when there is too much back light, it is better to use a flash. The people in the sample photo were in shade, so their faces are too dark. Flash can be used day or night.


    The subjects were under shadow

    Shutter speed
    Taking photos of moving people
    • Use shutter speed priority mode
    • Use burst mode
    Use shutter speed priority mode Use burst mode

    When shooting a subject that is moving fast, a higher shutter speed is required. Select the shutter speed priority mode and set the shutter speed to a value under 1/250. You can freeze motion and take a sharp picture.


    It is hard to capture moving children with regular shutter speed

    Using burst mode

    If you want to take a continuous motion picture, use the burst mode which will take several photos in a second.

    Selective focus

    Making professional people photos: Using selective focus technique

    Using selective focus technique

    Make a narrow depth of field with the selective focusing technique. As mentioned in Part 2, Lesson 7, the selective focusing technique is a good technique to make the people stand out in your photo. You can also use it when you shoot photos of flowers or other objects. If you want to use selective focus, change the aperture setting to a lower setting, increase the distance between your subject and background, and zoom in on the subject.


    The girl stands out by selective focus technique

    This page titled 3.1: Taking photos of people is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by .

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