5 Nikon D500 Portrait Photography Tips To Improve Your Image Quality!

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If you’re interested in portrait photography and are looking for a camera that can accompany you in your photographic adventures, then look no further than the Nikon D500. With its 20.7MP APS-C sensor, you can take the crispest and clear images of any model you wish. This camera also comes with 180,000-pixel RGB sensor, so taking candid images will become all the mode easier for you. 

Photography is like an art form, where you can be as creative as you wish. Portrait photography is simply a direction for that creativity. The only rule you have to follow is to have a human body in the picture. Then, whether you decide on contorting the body, zooming deeply in, or subtracting half the face, it’s up to you. With the Nikon features, you will be equipped with all the tools you need to fulfill your creative desires. 

The D500 comes with 10 fps shooting for up to 200 shots, which helps you take speedy shots in burst mode. This function can also be used if you’re asking your model to move around frequently or pacing back and forth for a dramatic effect. With this mode, you can also create a series of images for a gallery show. For example, if the model is looking side to side while staying in one position, and you have 10 pictures that display this movement, it will create an impeccable series that you can publish. 

Here are 5 tips on using the Nikon D500 for portrait photography.  

Try Overexposure

The first step into doing portrait photography is to be creative and think out of the box. Traditional portrait photography confines itself to the realms of beautification and aesthetics. Still, as the field of the arts is emerging into more of an abstract moment, you can also try and work with different methods. One way to bring in abstraction in your portraits is to overexpose the image. Overexposure essentially means intensely brightening up the image through the manual settings on your camera. 

For example, if you are placing the model in front of a black backdrop and are shining a light on her face from an angle, then a traditional image may just focus on half of her face as bright and the other half as not. However, overexposure will entirely erase one half of the face—this way, the portrait can be aestheticized abstractly and can be categorized as monochromatic impressionism. You can also print it out and hang it on your wall because an overexposed image allows you to play with that complexity.  

With the Nikon D500, you get a light sensitivity of ISO 100-51200 along with several exposure metering modes, including 3D color matrix II, center-weighted, and spot. These features help you in manually deciding how much exposure you need for each image. This camera also has several exposure modes, including aperture-priority, automatic, bulb, manual, program, and shutter-priority. All these functions will help you get the right amount of exposure for your desired style of photography. 

Know Your Equipment

Whenever you’re doing portrait photography, you have to have a good understanding of your equipment. If the portrait is for a client, you must know at least the basics of using the camera and its extensions. If you don’t, you may come off as an unprofessional photographer and lose out on future clients. Thus, you have to test out your camera and its setting beforehand whenever you have a shoot. 

In the age of technology, it is super easy to learn about anything. All you have to do is google “how to use this camera” or watch videos on YouTube. This is one of the most simple ways of knowing your equipment. However, you must also practice on your equipment to understand the internal workings and little details about it. You should know how to mount a camera on a tripod, how to set the camera on manual mode, how to shift focus from manual to auto, and how to configure the lighting settings. Again, all of this can be easily found on resources online.   

The Nikon D500 is an extremely easy to use device which carries a simple user interface. It comes with a 100% coverage viewfinder with 1.0x magnification and a 2.36M-dot tilting touchscreen display. The camera also has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. Hence, learning the functions of the camera becomes super easy. 

Use Natural Light

Using natural light is highly recommended in portrait photography. Since portraits are supposed to tell a story and should come off as candid and informal images, you should focus on using natural light to help you achieve the desired style. There are several ways you could use natural light to your advantage. One of them is using reflectors. Reflectors help give the model a highlight to accentuate her/his facial and bodily structure, and they create amazing shadows that mold the portrait into something ethereal. 

For example, suppose you’re shooting a portrait in a grass field and want to use natural light. In that case, you could either take images directly or use reflectors. The sun shines directly onto the reflector and gives the natural light to the face from below. This way, the backlight shadow will not be as intense. Your portrait will have visible tones that compliment the sunlight and the grassy scenery. You can also use the auto mode on your camera to adjust the ISO, aperture, and shutter speed accordingly so that the image does not come up with a color imbalance. 

With the Nikon D500, you can access many modes for lighting. You firstly get several special effects, including flat, landscape, monochrome, neutral, portrait, standard and vivid. Additionally, several white balance presets include 2500K – 10000K, cloudy, flash, fluorescent, incandescent, shade, and sunlight. Thus, figuring out the several modes of lighting becomes super simple as well.    

Tell A Story

Portraits should always tell a story. Capturing an image of a person can frequently be misunderstood as a mundane activity. However, it is your job as a portrait photographer to incorporate a story in that image. There are several ways you could do that. One way is to add a caption. Another way is to place some objects in the image. These objects could symbolize any story you want. A third way is to use different colors that could have political or personal connections with the viewers. 

For example, if you’re trying to tell the story of a woman going through a difficult time, you could use grim colors and maybe place the model in a little room that is locked. This may tell the story of how women face domestic violence and are not given opportunities. The element of confinement could also show how private space can be an instigator of violence against women. This way, you can tell the story of women’s movements or an image for a protest. Hence, using certain elements that hint on a prevailing issue can tell a story that resonates across different audiences.   

As mentioned above, the Nikon D500 comes with several connectivity functions and several other manual editing functions that you can use to get the picture to tell a story. It comes with an exposure compensation of ±5 EV range, in 1, 1/2, or 1/3 EV steps and auto-exposure bracketing of 9 steps. Each of these functions helps you edit your image in a way that tells a very compelling story. 

Take Candid Shots

Taking candid shots is one of the best ways to do portrait photography. It gives you a lot more room to experiment and be abstract in your form and photography style. You could capture a moving subject, still life, or a person doing any kind of daily activities. Candid shots also tell amazing stories. The inherent movement in the image and the surprise element creates a sense of movement for the viewer. For the audience, it can almost feel like they are in the image themselves. 

One way to take candid images is to ask the model to just do what s/he wants to do. This way, you won’t be restricting the subject into conforming to your poses. In fact, it would create the potential for many poses that you may not even have thought about. This form gives you a lot of creative space, and you can simply take pictures the way you want to. You can also put your camera on the burst mode and ask the model to jump or flip their hair or turn around. All these actions and stagings can create incredible portraits. 

Taking candid shots on the Nikon D500 becomes super easy since it comes with a shutter speed of 1/8000 sec and an X-sync speed of 1/250 sec. Such fast processing speeds let you clearly take candids no matter how paced the model is. Additionally, the camera also comes with a 153 point AF module with 99 cross-type points. These focus points help you keep the subject in focus and avoid blurry images. So, go out there and start your journey to becoming a portrait photographer.