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Shoot Photos Like a Pro: Portraits

Get a classic shot of friends or family.
march 2010 shoot like a pro portraits 445x260(Photo by Tom Zuccareno)

» The best light comes at dawn and dusk (but don’t shoot too early, or you’ll get puffy eyes). Position yourself so that your subject is slightly sidelit, and use a fill flash to soften the shadows on his or her face. “The trick is to dial down the flash,” says Tomas Zuccareno. “You don’t want to wipe out shadows—just soften them a bit.” He takes the flash down 1/3 of a stop from the default setting. Or use your headlamp to light the subject, moving it closer or farther away until you get the right look, advises Michael Clark.

» Keep faces lean with a 200mm zoom lens with a wide-open aperture (try f/5.6); stand about 10 feet away. This puts faces in focus while blurring the background. Got a point-and-shoot? Set your camera to portrait mode and keep the subject at least 10 feet in front of the background.

» Self-conscious subjects? Give them a task (cooking, bear-bagging), then have them pause and look while you snap the pic.

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