There are many different ‘rules’ for portrait photography, but these are my top 10. If you can follow these, then you will see a big improvement in your portraiture.
Sure, there are no rules of photography, but that’s why I’ve surrounded the word in quotation marks. Break the rules as much as you want; in fact I encourage you to experiment.
Just know that these rules are very popular and widely followed for a reason. . .
Aperture of f/8-f/16
If you’re not familiar with aperture, allow me to briefly sum it up for you. The wider the aperture, the lower the f/number, and the shallower the depth of field.
The opposite is true for narrow apertures.
It’s widely agreed that around 2-4 stops wider than your narrowest aperture (f/22) is where your lens will be at its sharpest. That’s why we often use f/8-f/16 when taking portraits.
It’s very sharp, and the depth of field is deep enough to keep the whole face in focus, but not so deep that there’s no blur at all in the background.
You want a slight blur to help separate the background from the subject.
It’s common practice to shoot in manual or aperture priority mode, because you can easily select the aperture which best suits your photo.