If you want to improve your portrait shots, and all without having to put your hand in your pocket and splashing out on super expensive professional grade photography equipment, you may find the 9 tips below useful.
1. Build a rapport with the subjects
If you want to capture the best photos of people you need to make them feel comfortable, at ease and relaxed. In order to do this you need to build a rapport with the subjects. Some people require direction to be put at ease, other people require being spoken to and other people require being left in silence. It is crucial to find out what you need to do to put your subjects at ease, and then apply it.
Capturing great portraits requires great people skills, and not necessarily top end and expensive equipment.
2. Keep up the interaction throughout the shoot
Once you get the subjects comfortable in front of the camera it is crucial to keep them there throughout the entire shoot. You’ll find that if the interaction reduces/regresses the photos will get worse.
Once again, capturing great portraits requires great people skills, so don’t get stressing that you don’t have the high end professional spec equipment.
3. Have a selection of cuddly toys for young kids
When taking portraits of children and kids you will need to keep them entertained to make sure they last the duration of the shoot. All kids seem to love a cuddly toy, or two, and I find that having a selection of cuddly toys and plushes helps the shoot go smoothly no end.
You don’t need to spend a fortune on expensive cuddly toys and plushes, and I always useAmazon or eBay, where there are always deals to be had.
4. Shooting against a blank wall make a great background
Professional portrait photographers will use photography back drops for indoor portraits. Setting up a background requires a lot of time, effort and also various bits of equipment, including a back drop, a support stand and clamps. These photography background set ups are very useful, but they don’t come cheap.
If you don’t have access to a portable photography background set up, and let’s face it, not many beginner portrait photographers do, a blank wall (the lighter the better) is a great alternative to a photography background. Most houses have a plain wall somewhere, so make sure you find it and put it to good use.
5. Open all curtains for natural daylight
Natural daylight is, without a shadow of a doubt, the best way to light portraits and you need to maximize the ambient light and use it to your advantage. When you are taking indoor portraits you should open all curtains, open all blinds and flood the property with natural daylight.
Natural daylight is less harsh and easier to control than artificial light, so you should use day light whenever and wherever possible.
6. If the room is too dark bounce flash off the ceiling
Even when all of the curtains and blinds are wide open there are times when there still isn’t enough ambient light get a decent exposure, and in these circumstances you are going to have no other option but to use a bit of flash. If your camera has a built in pop up flash this is not going to be powerful enough – you will need an external flash.
You don’t need one of those powerful, all singing all dancing (and expensive) external flashes for indoor portrait photography. The small, and not to mention affordable Godox TT350 will do the job perfectly. Check out the following for an honest and unbiased review.
7. Use a small aperture for group shots
I am sure you have read that you need to use wide apertures for portrait photography. This may be the case when dealing with individuals but not when dealing with group portraits. If you take group portraits with the lens wide open you’ll have serious issues with sharpness as the shallow depth of field shooting wide open.
To make sure everyone in the group is in focus, and tack sharp, you need to stop down the lens and shoot at a narrow aperture. I find that f8 – f11 is perfect for group portraits, and it is what I would recommend.
8. When arranging a large group – if they can’t see the camera, the camera can’t see them
When arranging numerous people for a group portrait there is one key thing to remember – “If you can’t see the camera the camera can’t see you”. To put this in practice you need to make sure that every person in the group portrait can clearly, and easily, see the camera.
9. Shoot in burst mode
I wold always recommend using burst mode, and firing off several shots in quick succession when taking portraits. People blink, people cough, people sneeze, people suffer from involuntary facial contortions, and if any of these happen at the wrong moment the photo will be ruined.
The involuntary actions are bad enough when dealing with one person but when dealing with several people, like when taking group portraits, they can be very frustrating. Shooting in burst mode will help ensure that everyone in the portrait are facing toward the camera, smiling and not blinking.
First off I should point out that I am talking about non-professional travel photography and if you are capturing travel related photos for paying clients, stock agencies, magazines and publications etc. the Go Pro 6 isn’t capable of capturing photos that will meet the minimum requirements.
If you want travel photos for personal use, sharing with family and friends, uploading to social media, for your blog etc. the Go Pro 6 is plenty good enough to capture stills and, of course, video footage that will impress.
So what are the 5 reasons why the Go Pro 6 is such a great camera for travels and adventures? …..
1. The Go Pro 6 is small, light and portable
Size matters when travelling, and the smaller you can get away with the better. Measuring just 44.6mm x 62mm x 32.7mm, and weighing in at a meagre 117g the Go Pro 6 is a very small camera, and you’ll struggle to find a camera with the same specification and built to the same standard that is smaller.
The Go Pro 6 is a small package you can easily tuck away in your backpack, your handbag/man bag or even your pocket. There are many “pocket” cameras out there that will actually fit in a pocket, but the Go Pro 6 will and with room to spare.
2. The Go Pro 6 is discreet
Because of its small size the Go Pro 6 often goes unnoticed as it is small enough not to attract attention from onlookers. One of my pet hates using my dslr camera is being watched, and whilst I am sure most people couldn’t care less that I am taking photos, it still bothers me. When I use the Go Pro 6 I never feel like I am being watched.
There are times when I definitely don’t want to attract attention, such as in bad/rough areas where there is high tourist crime. Before I had my Go Pro I used to pack my dslr away in dodgy looking areas, and miss many photo opportunities. Now I have my Go Pro I carry on snapping away.
3. The Go Pro 6 is tough, durable and pretty much bombproof
The Go Pro 6 was built for action and extreme sports, such as ski-ing, off road biking, kayaking, rock climbing etc. A camera for extreme sports and outdoor pursuits needs to be well built, and I guarantee the Go Pro 6 is well built. This little camera is shock proof, waterproof and bomb proof. Sure, you can break the Go Pro 6 but you have to give it a lot of abuse to do so, and abuse of this amount is not ‘normal use’.
The Go Pro 6 is a product you can use, throw in your back pack and forget about until the next photo or bit of video footage.
4. When using the Go Pro 6 there is no faffing around
You can tweak the exposure with the Go Pro 6 but the manual settings are limited. This is not such a bad thing as the less settings there are to play around with the less time you’ll spend messing around trying to get the ‘perfect’ exposure. I like to think of the Go Pro 6 as an advanced point and shoot camera, which means I can find the subject, frame the subject, make a few tweaks, fire off a few shots and move on before my other half gets bored.
When I use my Go Pro 6 I find I work quicker and more efficiently, and my photos don’t seem to suffer. Less faffing around not only means a wider variety of shots but also a less bred and annoyed other half.
5. The Go Pro 6 doesn’t require loads of accessories
Whilst there are loads of accessories available for the Go Pro 6, most of them ae not needed. In fact, in order to get the best out of the Go Pro 6 you need very few accessories, and the accessories you do need are small, portable and affordable.
Let’s put this in to perspective….. When I am out with the dlsr camera I have a spare lens, a speed light, lens filters, lens cleaning equipment, a tripod, a remote shutter release, spare memory cards, spare batteries and a few other odds and sods.
When I am out with the Go Pro 6 I take spare memory cards, a small power bank (instead of spare batteries), lens cleaning cloth, polarizing filter and that’s it. When I go out with the Go Pro 6 I take the smallest amount of gear, and I have to say I seldom want for anything.
So there we have it, 5 reasons why you should consider the Go Pro 6 for your travel camera.
Ready to buy the Go Pro 6?
The Go Pro 6 has become my camera of choice for capturing time lapses and hyper lapses. This playlist, "Go Pro time lapses", may be of interest.
Go Pro 6 on wearable gimbal - Will this improve the footage?
Like the Go Pro 5 before it, the Go Pro 6 has built in image stabilisation to help capture silky smooth, jerk free footage. The image stabilisation on the Go Pro 5 is good, but the image stabilisation on the Go Pro 6 is head and shoulders above and blows the Go Pro 5 out of the water.
The image stabilisation of the Go Pro 6 is awesome and has to be seen to be believed. Even though the image stabilisation in the Go Pro 6 is exceptionally good, it isn’t (as you’d expect) perfect, which got me thinking.
Since I own the Feiyu WG2 wearable gimbal I wondered if I could get super smooth and one hundred per cent jerk free footage from the Go Pro 6 is I combined systems and used it in conjunction with the Feiyu WG2 wearable gimbal.
Below is a short clip of my findings.
“Will a gimbal improve the footage captured with a Go Pro 6?” The answer to this depends on expectations, what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. We are all different, and we all have different expectations, needs and requirements. Consequently, only you can decide whether it is worth investing in a gimbal stabiliser for your Go Pro 6.
Check the price of the Go Pro 6 on:-
Check the price of the Feiyu WG2 on:-
With the Go Pro Hero 6 camera you can capture HD footage at 240 frames per second, which makes it the perfect action camera for recording super slow motion footage. Shooting at 240 frames per second makes it possible to slow the footage down 8 times and still have smooth and jerk free footage.
Being able to record full HD footage at 240 frames per second was one of the main reasons I bought the Go Pro 6, and whilst the Go Pro 6 is expensive (and there are cheaper action cameras out there) I was prepared to pay more to have the option to capture slow motion video.
Recording slow motion footage with the Go Pro 6 is easy and simply requires pressing a few buttons, however there are a few things you need to think about before using the 240 frames per second mode.
The first, and most important consideration is light. In order to shoot at 240 frames per second you need an abundance of light. Too little light, and the video footage will be too dark. Gauging how much you can let the light levels drop to and still capture decent footage at 240 frames per second requires time, practice and experience. Unfortunately, there is no magical formula or set rules, and it is a case of practice, practice and practice some more. Before shooting at 240 frames per second I would always take some test footage and checking the video to ensure there is sufficient light.
The other important consideration with capturing slow motion is the subject matter. At the end of the day some things work, and some things don’t. Sports and action is an obvious subject for slow motion footage, however there are other subjects that are just as good. It is worth experimenting with different subjects for slow motion footage because there are things I have tried that I never would have thought would work, and also things I have tried that would be perfect for slow motion but weren’t. The joys of photography…………
. . . .
Some slow motion captured with the Go Pro 6
Below are some examples of slow motion footage captured using the Go Pro 6 action camera you may want to check out.
Slow motion footage of the Maxxis British Motocross
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.