|Article Time Stamp: 06 October 2008, 21:35:54 GMT+7|
Better Portraits With Your Point-And-Shoot Camera
It is one thing to take a picture of a person, and another to snap a portrait. A good portrait has the ability to convey the subjects' state of emotion, and possibly even reveal a hint about their thoughts. Here are five simple tips for better portraits, so gather your friends and family members for a fun shoot.
Depth of field
If your camera has manual controls for setting aperture, adjust it to about F3.5 or below. This creates a shallow depth of field which causes blur background while keeping the subject sharp. This focuses the viewer's attention straight to the subject. If your camera doesn't have manual controls, try scrolling through the scene modes--generally there will be a portrait mode which optimizes the camera's settings for taking pictures of people.
It's all about the communication
If your subject is too tense, the picture will probably reflect it. Unless that is the effect you want, you'll have to talk to the person in front of your lens and loosen them up. Crack a joke or talk about the weather. If you know the person well, chat about things that interest him/her. They will start to relax and that's the moment you start snapping.
Get to the eye level of your subject. For children, squat down to take pictures of them. If your adult subject is sitting down, then you need to sit or kneel in order to his/her eye level, too. This makes them more relaxed since they don't have to raise or lower their head to look at you, which may look unnatural (and make your subject uncomfortable).
It's in your eyes
They say the window to a person's soul is through the eyes, and this is especially true for portraiture. Try to fix your camera's focus on the subjects' eyes as this creates a more appealing picture than focusing on their noses or ears. If your point-and-shoot has only one focus point, frame the eyes within the focusing box, half-press the shutter to focus (don't remove your finger yet) and then reframe your shot before pressing the shutter button down fully.
If your subject lives in an interesting environment, use wide-angle lens to capture the surroundings in your shot. This will give your viewers a better understanding of the subject and create a more visually interesting picture as well. But don't try to cram every item available into the shot--this may clutter the image and draw attention away from the person you want to portray.
By Doug_Clist, CNET Contributor