10 portrait photography mistakes every photographer makes (and how to fix them)

Portrait Photography Mistake No. 5: Depth of field to shallow

Portrait Photography Mistake No. 5: Depth of field to shallow

While restricting depth of field in a portrait can be very effective, if you shoot wide open with an 85mm f/1.8 lens the depth of field may be so shallow that only the eyes are in focus, while the ears are soft.

This means that you need to be extremely careful with your focusing, and if you want a little more than the contact lenses on your subject's eyes to be sharp, you may want to consider closing the aperture down a little.

Be sure to check your images at or near the size that you want to use them, or enlarge the image on the camera's screen when you review it to check the focus and depth of field.

It can be hard to assess depth of field in thumbnails and when the image is squeezed onto the back of the camera, out of ofcus areas often look sharper than they actually are.

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Portrait Photography Mistake No. 6: Shooting from the wrong height

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The definition of 'wrong height' varies depending upon the subject and the context of the image, but it can help you produce better results if you shoot at your subject's eye-level.

With children this may mean kneeling down or even lying with your elbows on the floor.

Conversely, if you want to take a quick shot that emphasises how small they are, then shoot from above.

Many portrait photographers advise against shooting from below your subjects eye level, because it can lead to double chins and up-nostril views.

Traditionally, women and children were always shot from slightly above with them looking up to emphasise their eyes and make them look more appealing, but these guidelines are less relevant today.

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