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5 Easy Tricks to Shoot Stunning Portraits

Capture better portraits with these simple hacks
Photo of portrait hacks

Pro photographer Miguel Quiles is someone who has built a big bag of tricks over the years that help him capture stunning portraits every time. In the below video, he shares five of these of these game-changing portrait hacks.

“Implementing these strategies in my own work has helped me hack the process of taking great portraits, making it much easier to get a great result,” Quiless says. “In this video I’ll open it up and share five of my favorite portrait photography hacks that hit different.”

#1 Play the Exposure Game

“The goal of this game is the help you quickly identify what the correct settings would be when you’re shooting in various environments and conditions,” Quiles says. “First, you’ll want to grab an item that you have nearby, maybe a coffee cup or in my case, an action figure. Place that item on a table near a window and ask yourself, if you were trying to take a photograph of it, what settings do you think would put you within two stops of the correct exposure? Learning to see things as your camera sees them will be a game-changer for your portrait work.”

#2 Upgrade Your Social Skills

“Oftentimes the things that keep us from getting great portraits isn’t the camera or lens that we choose to use but rather our ability to communicate effectively with other people. The words that you say and the way that you carry yourself during a shoot can have a bigger impact on your results than you might think.”


#3 Take a Bokeh Break

“The narrative around the relationship between bokeh and portraiture has been that you want to shoot with those wide-open apertures to separate your subject from the background. What if we try something else, something that goes against the grain and makes our work stand out from the masses? Taking great portraits requires us to think differently. Instead of going into situations and thinking about how you’re going to blur everything away, try closing down your f-stop to f/4, maybe even f/8 and start incorporating more your environment to help tell a better story around your image.”

#4 Try Something New Every Time

“Do one thing different than you would normally do at every photo shoot. Over time as you become more comfortable with your process of taking photos, it’s natural to become complacent and start approaching the process of taking portraits in autopilot. The best way to avoid that is to do that is to push out of your comfort zone and try something different.”

#5 Do More with Less

“When you’re starting out, it’s easy to say that the wall that’s holding us back from taking that next great image is some piece of gear or software that we absolutely need. I could tell you firsthand that the more stuff that you have, the more you fall victim to analysis paralysis. When you have less stuff, it’s easier to just grab whatever it is that you have and go to work.”


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