Best 8 portrait photography tips you’ll never want to forget

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Dialling in an exposure compensation of +2.3 stops, it has correctly exposed the face, but some background details are blown out. That's fine, we can't have it both ways…

Dialling in an exposure compensation of +2.3 stops, it has correctly exposed the face, but some background details are blown out. That’s fine, we can’t have it both ways…

Your camera’s metering system plays a vital role in picture-taking. It works out how much light should enter the camera to make a correct exposure. It’s very clever, but it’s not completely foolproof. The problem with multi-zone metering systems is that it takes an average reading, and this reading is assumed to be a midtone, or in other words, halfway between white and black. More often than not this assumption comes out right, but a metering system can struggle when a frame is dominated by areas of extreme brightness or darkness.

When shooting portraits, light skin tones can easily trick the camera into underexposing the shot. You’ll notice this more when shooting full-face photos or when there’s lots of white in the scene – brides at weddings are a prime example.

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