Portrait photography entails an exclusive combination of aesthetic sense and camera techniques to capture your subject in a beautiful manner. Consider yourself a painter looking to create magical portraits, but instead of using a paintbrush, you’re using a camera.
Portrait photography is often mistakenly associated with capturing photos of only professional models. But that’s not true. Portrait photography subjects can be anyone! You can use the Nikon D6500 to capture portrait shots of anyone. Keep on reading to learn more about how you can use the Nikon D5600 for portrait photography.
Portrait photography is a versatile domain that allows you to create incredible photos using the correct camera settings, angles, lighting conditions, and poses. The Nikon D5600 empowers you to master the art of capturing the true essence of your subject.
As a portrait photographer, it’s your job to couple your imagination with the camera’s features to capture a masterpiece of a portrait. Other than personal creativity, you also need a featureful camera like the Nikon D5600 to show off your portrait photography skills.
The 24MP Nikon D5600 is an all-rounder camera fully capable of capturing sharp and vibrant portrait photographs with its 39-point autofocus system paired with 5 frames per second continuous shooting. Another advantage of using the Nikon D5600 to shoot portraits is its 2016-pixel RGB sensor, which autocorrects the color vibrance and intensity of the photographs.
The following 5 tips will help you to master the art of capturing portrait photographs with the Nikon D5600.
Use Natural Light
Natural light is your best friend when it comes to portrait photographs. You can use two types of natural lights to capture photographs. The first is directional light, which falls directly on the focused subject. Many portrait photographers have been following this redundant rule. To make use of directional lighting, photographers stand against the sun, and the light falls directly on to the focused object.
This may come as a surprise, but this old-school idea is generally not followed because it makes your subject’s eyes squinted. Conversely, any light coming from behind the subject will make their appearance darker.
The other type of natural light is angular rays coming from different angles rather than the conventional direct or straight light. You can add a dramatic effect to your outdoor portraits by utilizing sunlight coming from different directions, either through vertical panels or a mesh wall.
An inventive approach would be to use a combination of diagonal shadows and lights to create a theatrical look. Even in the case of indoor portrait shoots, you can position your subjects near glass windows to use natural light.
The Nikon D5600 allows you to use natural light with its wide range of shooting modes such as Program, Aperture-priority, or Manual. You can achieve a shallow depth of field with a low f-stop number. Also, selecting a higher aperture setting allows you to adjust the light intensity to soften the background and foreground.
Overexposure Can Be Your Friend
Overexposure should usually be avoided, but an exception can be made in portrait photography. Exposure is a combination of three settings, including aperture, shutter speed, and ISO sensitivity. You can either underexpose the subject to create a darker portrait or overexpose it for a brighter image.
The exposure is correlated directly with the available lighting in the location. Overexposing a portrait photograph helps you capture a neat and smooth portrait by overpowering some flaws or unwanted shadows.
You can increase or decrease the exposure compensation (EV) settings of the Nikon D5600 to complement the respective shooting mode. You can control the sharpness of the background with an ISO value of 400 and an aperture of approximately F5.6. You can also choose to use the Aperture Priority option on the mode dial.
The Nikon D5600 allows you to capture portraits by automatically adjusting shutter speed with the Aperture Priority selection. This mode is quite helpful to capture well-exposed and sharp portrait photographs with full control on the depth-of-field, no matter how far or near the focused subject is placed.
You can select a smaller value for the aperture, such as F2.0, for a larger opening to increase the incoming light. This will overexpose the portrait shot in a well-lit location. A wide-open aperture also helps blur the background by focusing on the subject with a lower depth-of-field selection. Overexposing portraits requires you to intensify the incoming light by increasing the ISO sensitivity value.
Take Candid Photographs
The days when individuals looked straight into the camera with an artificial smile on their straight faces are long gone. The scope of portrait photography has shifted from capturing still photos to candid and real-time expressions.
You can use the Nikon D5600’s single point focus to capture candid photographs. This ensures that your subject remains in focus, even when they’re not directly looking into the camera. Clients also prefer candid photos of real expressions and genuine moments.
The Nikon D5600 comes with different focus settings, such as a single shot (AF-S) and continuous (Servo AF-C). You can use the AF-S mode for still poses and the AF-C mode to capture a moving person.
Another feature offered by the Nikon D5600 is a focus lock, which allows you to fix your focus settings on a still subject. So, the autofocus mechanism doesn’t have to adjust the focal length every time you take a picture.
You can take full advantage of the camera by utilizing the burst mode feature of the Nikon D5600 to capture candid shots of individuals. However, the burst mode should be wisely used. For example, we don’t recommend using burst mode to capture family portraits.
For a group of people in a frame, you should manually focus on capturing one good shot with everyone’s eyes open and smiling expressions across the frame. This also helps you ensure that all the people in the frame are in focus.
The Nikon D5600 comes with flexible aperture settings that empower photographers to capture bold and vibrant candid photos with a focus on all facial features. You can select a relatively smaller aperture within the range of F2.8 – F4 to highlight details of the focused subject.
Try Using Props
As discussed earlier, capturing portrait photographs is like painting an ingenious scenery. However, instead of a paintbrush and different styling strokes, you have a camera with different settings and focus modes. You can bring more life to portrait photography by using supporting props. This doesn’t necessarily mean you overpower your entire portrait frame with props like bicycles, picnic baskets, or other pieces of furniture.
Consider props to be supporting objects that enhance the subject you’re focusing on. It can be a piece of delicate jewelry or a flower bouquet for a cute candid portrait. Something as simple as a pair of sunglasses, a wallet, or a hat can serve to be props for portraits. How to bring in different colors to portrait images by using multi-colored props is entirely up to the imagination of the photographer.
The props are not just supporting objects, but they give different meanings to portrait photographs. Having plants around a portrait photograph could signify the subject’s love for nature, or having a book in hand can symbolize one’s love for knowledge.
You can focus on the props by using all the 39 focus points of the Nikon D5600. This will help you capture sharp full-frame portrait photographs. You can also choose to blur the background by manually focusing on the subject only. The Nikon D5600 comes with an in-built audible beep, which alerts the photographer once the subject is in focus.
Use Color Wisely
Chromatic settings of the portraits depend upon the type of portrait photography you’re doing. Traditional portrait photographs are captured in dark, serene, and bold colors. In contrast, conceptual and candid portrait images can be captured in monochrome colors for an intense look.
Group, lifestyle, and glamour portraits are mostly shot with vibrant backgrounds to symbolize the liveliness of the photoshoot. As a portrait photographer, you should keep in mind all these variants of portrait photos before adjusting the white balance settings of the Nikon D5600.
The camera comes with different chromatic settings under the white balance mode. You can select from the following options daylight, shady, cloudy, or fluorescent, depending upon the external lighting conditions of the location.
For solo close-ups, you must capture the natural skin tone complemented with a blurry background. A dark background allows you to focus more on the subject as compared to a busy background, which can overwhelm the portraits with confusing colors.
You can select the tone of the portraits to be either warm (with yellow tones) or cool (with blue tones). Auto white balance mode analyzes the colors already present in your frame and neutralizes all these colors to remove any inconsistencies. Using white balance in auto mode (AWB) allows you to capture neutral and consistent photos. However, this could result in mundane or lifeless portrait photographs.