Portraiture is probably the commonest of photographic applications. Also the oldest. When we shoot pictures of family and friends, or commercially for that matter, it usually involves a little thought to composition, a little to lighting and a little to styling, just as with any other kind of photograph. With portraits, the point of focus becomes critical especially since we often tend to use a very shallow depth of field for portraiture.
They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul, and that holds true as far as making effective portraits goes. The first part of the image the viewers’ eyes lock on to are the eyes of the model, and that should be exactly what your auto focus locks on to as well! So, our KAPA tip for today is pretty straightforward – when shooting portraiture, bring the focus point bang on the eye of the model. The shallower the depth of field the more critical this becomes.
If you look at any popular portrait, be it a painting from centuries ago or a modern fashion image, notice that the catchlights in the eyes are a striking feature of the image without which the portrait would lose much of its charm. Take for instance this image of model Bruna photographed by Karthik Srinivasan. Notice the sparkling catchlights in the model’s eyes. If the focus was a little soft on the eyes, so would the catchlights appear soft, taking away that special touch.
So, when once you’ve set up your lighting and composed your shot, take a second or two to get your focus right on the eyes…happy shooting!