Well portrait photography is maybe one of the most taken photography styles. The faces of people can tell you a lot but it have to transport to the recipient (beholder). I collected some advices to take photos. Just try it.
Tip 1 – Focal length
The focal length should be between 50-100 mm in the most cases. This is the ideal focal length to focus on your motive. It is advisable to use a prime lens. You can open the diaphragm further than a zoom lens. Well, you maybe notice I am not a friend of prime lenses but in this case I am, because the prime lens offers you more intensity of light and less depth of focus. You can use the small depth of focus as a stylistic device. A good prime lens for your entrance in the world of portrait photography is the Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 USM lens for the advance users I would prefer the Canon EF 50 mm f/1.2 L USM. As I was at the time to start with portrait photography I had a friend he told me that the best focal length is 85 mm for portrait. Well the 85 mm f/1.2 USM is a little bastard for portraits but I wouldn’t suggest this lens for beginners.
Tip 2 – Create with Light
You have to appreciate the light situation right and ( ‘or’) influence on the situation. It is essential to work with the light right because it will influence to the result. In the portrait photography many photographers take indirect lighting for illumination uniformity. Indirect light will make a smooth and indirect light will make smooth shadows that will be fine for your motive. But even hard light (direct) can be a great stylistic device! It depends on the situation and you just have to try it. Work with light like it is your camera or model. If the ambient light is not enough and you have to use the Speedlite try to use the Speedlite indirect. You can angle the camera flash to a white wall or use a diffuser. You will be surprised about the effect of indirect flashes. Well this isn’t working with the build-in flash you have to get an external flash for example Canon Speedlite600 EX-RT.
Tip 3 – Sharpness
If you are taking portrait photos you should focus on the eyes than the eyes are next to the lips the most important part. The work with low depth of focus respectively a wide open diaphragm is desirable in the portrait photography. Don’t hyperbolism it! Why? Well, an example: if you open the diaphragm as wide as possible you run risk of that the eyes are focused but the ears and the nose are out of focus. Maybe this is your stylistic device? Just try it and compare the pictures on a screen (Computer, TV, Laptop) not in the Live View mode on your camera.