How to Get Clear Portraits

12 JAN, 2020 | BY YU CHENHAO

Sometimes photographers may find that photos come out to be quite blurry, especially for beginners. Bokeh seems difficult to master at the proper time or proper place, while this issue is not always caused by wrong focus. Some other reasons can also lead to inappropriate blur which you want to avoid.

Here are 5 suggestions for you to avoid mistakes and get clear portrait photos.


1.Shutter Speed

Many new beginners may attribute wrong blur effects to focus error but ignore the shutter speed settings. If you set a slow shutter speed when shooting hand-held, you also can not get clear images. What you need to do in this situation is to match your shutter settings with the focal length.
Generally, for example, a 35mm lens needs a shutter speed 1/35 ( or double: 1/70 ), or even faster. In the same way, a 50mm lens needs a shutter speed 1/50 ( 1/100 ) or even faster.


2. Hold Your Camera Steady

Keep your camera steady by using a sturdy tripod and a shutter release cord, especially when shooting moving subjects or in poor light. If shooting hand-held is necessary, it’s not quite a serious issue. Now, most series digital SLR cameras feature Optical Image Stabilization technology, which helps to dramatically reduce or eliminate blurring caused by minute motions caused by the user. But you should still try your best to control the range of motions, in order to get perfect images.

3. Set Focus

You'll need to set and lock the focus if you shooting under auto-focus mode because most of the time focus will be initially set in the center of the frame automatically. Most digital SLR cameras have a focus-lock capability, activated by pushing the shutter release button down halfway. But before this, you shall make sure the place of your subject in the frame and set the focus, in order to guarantee a clear subject.

For example, it is a good choice to set focus on the eyes. Eyes are important elements that may convey essential information of the photo while focus on eyes can make your portraits more attractive and reveal the personalities of your subject.

4.Set Aperture

When shooting portraits, a wide aperture (around f/2.8-f/5.6) is often the best choice to capture a shallow depth of field, in order to make the background behind your subject nicely blurred, so your subject can be perfectly extruded.
But if you want everything to be sharp, like group shots or a beautiful environment, a narrow aperture (such as f/16 ) is great if you want most of the objects in your frame can also be in focus. But remember to use a slower shutter speed in order to avoid blur and increase your ISO, which will introduce grain.

5.Select Correct Lens

You may first start your photography with a zoom lens, but for portraits, the prime lenses are even better. For one thing, the prime lenses have wider maximum apertures, which is good for separating the subject from the background. For another, they’re super sharp and offer generally better image quality than zoom ones.

Here are three classical prime lenses for portraits: 50mm, 85mm, 200mm. Other wide-angel lenses and telephoto lenses are also helpful, but having the above three lenses would be the best option because you would have all bases covered.


Please contact me if you have any questions about photography. Your requirements are always our priority! Check out our Blog Page for more inspirations.