5 Canon 80D Portrait Photography Tricks For Better Images!

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If you’re interested in taking pictures of people and their faces and are looking for a camera that lets you take the best portrait images, then the Canon 80D is for you. With this camera, you can get well-proportioned and aesthetically pleasing images. It comes with a 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor with Dual Pixel AF, which provides you with incredible detail in your photos. Additionally, the camera also has various focus and exposure metering points, which give the portrait a dimension. 

Portrait photography is a challenging field to enter, but it is also one of the most gratifying. If you can take a portrait that stares right into your soul, you have done your job. Despite being just faces, portraits tend to be hypnotizing and mesmerizing. It often happens that certain angles, lighting, and backgrounds create an image that can give you a great portrait. The 80D is especially handy here because it has manual functions for everything; you can change the lighting, the aperture, the focus, and even the dimensions. 

With the 80D, you get a DIGIC 6 image processor and a TTL phase-detection system. This means the camera will function seamlessly and will give you very sharp and crisp images. Portraits are anything but soft. They have to give you that blunt and bold look with every facial feature visibly highlighted. This makes for a portrait that is not just an image but a representation of a human being. 

Here are 5 tips on using the Canon 80D for portrait photography.         

Shoot From An Appropriate Height

Just like a piece of literature or art, portraits are also full of metaphors that define their aesthetic boundaries. Where the use of language in stories becomes pleasing to the ear, the use of angles and heights in portraits become attractive to the eyes. As a portrait photographer, you should always look into the kinds of messages put out by the use of specific photography techniques. And shooting from an appropriate height is an important technique.

There are several ways to look for an appropriate height that complements the kind of face you photograph. For example, suppose the portrait is of someone with a very symmetrical face. In that case, the camera should be at an equal height with the face, almost parallel, so that the symmetry can be defined. In other instances, if the face is round or skinny or has a beard or a particular complexion, you can always experiment with different angles and heights to see which one suits best for each face. No two faces are the same and so the height that you place your camera at will also not be the same. 

With the Canon 80D, you can ease the process through its metering and focus features. The camera has a 45-point AF system with all cross-type points. This means you can focus on 45 different points on the face, where each can accentuate a distinct feature. Additionally, with 63 exposure metering zones and several modes including, center-weighted, evaluative, partial (6%), and spot (3.8%), you can bring in attention to a part of the face through lighting.    

Use Unique Angles

As stated above, a portrait is like an art piece, where you have to carefully think about angles and features. Angles that complement features. As a portrait photographer, this is super important for you to learn because angles are like ideas or perspectives. You can choose to have good ones about people, but you can also have bad ones. Good angles often give you aesthetically pleasing images that tell a story, and bad ones are very obviously haphazard and disorganized. 

Portrait photography is also very intuitive. You don’t necessarily need a set of ground rules or formulas to follow. Simple experimentation does the trick. If you think you like the pictures, the color schemes match, and the angles are all coherent, then that’s your final product. You can go around the studio or the photography space to figure out what angles might work best for your model. Sometimes you may have to climb a tree or go to the ceiling to take that perfect shot. So don’t be afraid to take risks and be unique.  

Canon 80D’s many AF points will help immensely in capturing these unique angles. Moreover, this camera has various built-in special effects, including fisheye, grainy B;W, HDR art, miniature, and soft focus. All of these features essentially help you in enhancing your image and its dynamics. You will be able to take pictures from any angle and add layers to it using these effects. It also comes with an optical lens viewfinder with a fixed eye-level pentaprism that gives you the perfect assistance in capturing the unique angles.      

Don’t Center Your Model

When you think of the word portrait, you either imagine a royal french painting of king Louis XVI or a modern-day monochromatic close-up headshot of someone who is probably an art student. However, it doesn’t have to be an “either-or” situation. While both the traditionally imagined images center the person in the pictures, you don’t necessarily have to do that today. In fact, don’t do that today.

A post-modern way of understanding art, either in the form of literature or photography, is to move the subject away from the center. In doing so, you’re creating room for other elements to become a part of that storyline, which previously centered around the person. This way, there is more interpretation that goes into viewing the image, a better understanding of the context of the image, and it makes for an interesting picture to look at for longer. So, instead of a grey background, you can have the city, and instead of the model’s face in the center, you can make them buy ice cream or just sit in a corner while the world keeps moving. 

In the Canon 80D, you will find some feature for every aspect of portrait photography available to you. Apart from the 45 autofocus zones, you also get different kinds of AE/AF controls, including FlexiZone, predictive AI servo AF and subject-tracking AF. All these controls allow for a more nuanced image to take shape. In fact, through the 1/8000 sec shutter speed, you can give the picture some added functionality and flair.  

Have A Good Background

One of the most essential factors in portrait photography is having a good background. You have to make sure that the background is coherent with the model’s face and expressions and the kind of angles you choose to shoot from. If the lighting or angles on the model are disproportionately placed with the background, then the whole image will be disorganized and won’t tell the story that you want it to tell. 

However, there are some techniques you can apply. For example, if you’re trying to tell a sad story, perhaps use a lonely place like the jungle or the desert. Conversely, you can also take to the city to create irony and juxtapose the hussle with loneliness. This way, you can make the backgrounds speak and complement the models’ stories or whatever else you want to represent. The only advice that most beginners take is to keep experimenting and looking for spaces intuitively. 

The Canon 80D will give you many features that help with background selection and enhancement. You can choose one of the many shooting programs available, including backlight correction HDR, candle, close-up, food, handheld night shot, kids, landscape, night portrait, portrait mode, and the sports mode. All of these modes can be used to figure out what you want to do with the background and in what capacity you want to alter it.     

Use Your Flash From An Angle

Finally, you have to use the flash as an angle. The built-in flash often gives you a straightforward and in your face kind of reflection in portrait mode. However, an external flash does not. You can use the umbrella flash or the wireless flash to create dimensions and soft reflections that accentuate certain features of the face without making them too obvious. 

If you get an external flash and direct it upwards onto a purple ceiling and the model is sitting right below the ceiling, ready to be photographed. When you take the picture, the flash placement will create a purple hue on the upper part of the model’s face without it being too harsh. You can apply similar techniques to brighten up or darken down the faces of the models too. 

The Canon 80D has lots of help when it comes to lighting. It comes with an extensive ISO range of 100-25600, and exposure compensation of ±5 EV range, in 1/2 or 1/3 EV steps. These features help get the pictures in the right brightness, and they do not let the flash takeover and over-expose the image. The camera also comes with dedicated ports and jacks to support an external flash that you can use to add color or lighten up the image.