The name itself is fairly self-explanatory. It is essentially capturing the whole body of the subject and no body part is cropped. The subject doesn’t necessarily need to be standing. The subject can sit, lay-down or have any other poses. What makes a good full body portrait is that, it should catch audience’s attention as soon as they look at it.
let’s talk about the cameras and equipment that you might need.
Full Body Portrait Photography Tips
Cameras and Equipment
Camera: Beginners often get confused whether to choose a mirrorless or a DSLR camera. Some prefer DSLR and others prefer Mirrorless. But what you have to understand is that both can take equally great shots.
The difference between them is how they are built. Mirrorless tends to be more compact in size, whereas, DSLRs are a bit bulky. DSLRs have optical viewfinders, which doesn’t have any delaying issues and Mirrorless have digital viewfinders that can have delay due to it being digitally rendered. There are more differences, you can do some research to find out more.
Regarding which brand and model to choose, it’s all about preference. Go to any camera store yourself and see which one you like the most. Just remember that expensive models will have more features and better build quality, than the more inexpensive ones.
Some cameras that we recommend are:
- Nikon Z6 (our top all-round camera)
- Sony A7 III
- Sony A6100
- Panasonic G100
Full body portrait photography lighting
Having a tripod will surely help, these will be a good edition to your tool set. You don’t need to buy an expensive tripod; cheaper ones will work just find.
Tripods will help to eliminate motion blur from your photos, especially if the subject is in motion. You can definitely shoot pictures by hand, but you may need to adjust the shutter speed to compensate for motion blur.
Some recommendations for tripods are:
- Vanguard Alta Pro 263AP
- Rangers Ultra Compact Tripod
- JOBY GorillaPod SLR Zoom
- K & F Concept DSLR Tripod
Having some lens filters are always a good idea. They are small and compact; you can put them in your bag and you won’t even notice it’s there.
Lens filters can help to protect the camera lens, alter the characteristics of your image and can also add special effects. There are various types of filters available, some are: UV Filter, Polarizer Filter and Color Balance filter.
UV Filters prevents ultra-violet rays from entering the lens which helps to protect it from damage. It also reduces haziness from your photos.
Polarizer Filter reduces reflected sunlight. It can be used to make the sky darker and add contrast between sky and the clouds.
We will discuss about lightings in the upcoming sections as it is quite an important topic.
Now, let’s look at the important tips and guide for Full Body Portraits that we have listed for you.
Choose the Appropriate Lenses
For full body portrait photography, you need to choose the correct lens, otherwise you may end up ruining your photos.
Different people have varying opinions regarding which lens choice. Some say wide-angle is better while others prefer telephoto. What we think works best for full body portrait photograph is to use a telephoto lens.
Wide-angle lens tends to create distortion around the edges of a photo. If shot from a closer distance, it will make your subject look odd. You can get some interesting shots with it when shooting something like lifestyle photography, but for something professional, try to avoid it.
Telephoto works best for portraits. It gives a more natural look and has far less distortion.
When choosing lenses, aim for getting the lens with lowest numbered aperture, like f/1.4-.2.8. Remember, lower aperture number lets in more light and higher numbered aperture lets in less light into the lens.
Regarding focal length, popular ones for portraits are 35mm, 50mm and 85mm. Remember if you purchase 85mm you need to stand further away from the subject and with a lower number like 35mm, you need to stand closer to the subject to get similar results.
If you choose to buy Nikon camera then here are some of the lenses that we recommend
- Nikon 85mm f/1.4
- Nikon 50mm f/1.8G AF-S
- Nikon 85mm f/1.8
- Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8
Body Posture Matters
The way a person portrays their body matters. Getting the posture correct is very important and it is not a very easy thing to achieve in a full body portrait photography.
You should avoid having a boxy look at all times. It gives a very unnatural feel and its not very pleasing to look at, so have your subject relaxed when posing for the shoot.
Try different poses, like having your subject’s shoulders leaning forward and heaps slightly back, to give more aesthetics.
Have your subject put weight on their back leg to free up the front leg. You can have your subject bend their front leg to get different shaped poses.
Hands and head movement is important. Don’t make the head straight, instead tilt it slightly which adds a sense of personality. If the hands are dangling around, it may ruin the photo, instead have them do something. For example, putting hands inside the pocket or have the hands bent upwards to show some dynamic tension.
It is also essential to get the facial expression correct. Subjects facial expression will determine the emotion and feel of the entire photo. If you want a family friendly photo, get your subject to smile. If you are aiming for something serious, have them look confident and maybe egoistic.
Keep your camera at the chest level of your subject which will create little to no distortion. But we recommend that you also try shooting from different angle, maybe you will get some interesting shots.
Working with Lightings Indoor and Outdoor
Having your subject well-lit is very important. Without proper lighting your photos won’t contain much values.
Shooting outdoor is a great idea, but it has its own set of problems. You need to be aware of how intense the sunlight is. If it is too harsh, it will give a harsh shadow on the subject and it also has the tendency to add haziness to the image.
There are various solutions that you can implement. You can either have your subject stand on shade or you can use reflectors.
Use a reflector to redirect sunlight to the shadowed area of the subject. You can also use fill light right in front of the subject to get an even lighting.
You can also shoot in golden hours. If you are not familiar with the term, then it is basically the period of time shortly after the sunrise and before sunset. Sunlight will be less harsh during those times.
For indoor shooting, you need to have additional lighting setup. It is also easy to control lightings in shooting indoors, you have a greater flexibility on how you want your photos to look like.
You can use flash but it is not recommended. Flash tends to give very strong lights and can leave shadows behind the subject. Use studio strobe and soft boxes instead. You can adjust the level of light intensity you want very easily with these tools.
Full body portrait photography is tied in with discovering feelings and articulations in portrait pictures. Getting your subject to express feelings is more difficult than one might expect.
A genuine shimmer in the eye, a black out grin, a sure articulation – these are the plans for capturing shots that will sparkle. Work with your subject and give them an opportunity to get into the zone. Compelling or rushing this procedure won’t work.
Use Different Angle
Use Some Props
Adding props to your body portrait photography is a useful method to include enthusiasm, and effect to the shots. Utilizing props can totally change the looks of the photo. You can build up your style by exploring another people’s work.
Taking candid shots is an excellent way to capture someone’s real emotion. When someone is posing for the camera, they tend to fake the expression, some do good job at faking while others can’t properly pose.
So, don’t turn off your camera after you are done shooting. Stay aware and look for the moments when the model is doing something or expressing any sort of emotion.
Always shoot on RAW
The problem with shooting raw is that it will take more memory space and more processing power than if you were shooting in JPEG. But the main advantage of shooting in RAW is that you will have a greater flexibility in post-processing.
You will have a lot of control in adjusting things like exposure, shadows, highlights, white balance, saturation etc.
You can also adjust JPEG, but it won’t be as significant as editing RAW.
Do Body Photo Retouching
Photos that you have shot might have some small defects or it may contain something unexpected that you would like to get removed. You can do those using softwares like photoshop.
If you don’t know how to edit, try outsourcing it. You will find many professional photo editing companies. We also provide professional editing services and we work with a lot of clients.
Consider checking out our website. We have our services listed along with the price.
Full body portrait photography can be difficult to shoot but if done right, can be very rewarding. Try to experiment with different poses and styles to get something unique, and don’t be afraid to break the rules. You will learn more by trial and errors.
Some suggestions that we can give you is that, make minor adjustments on your subject’s movement. Don’t do make drastically different body placement, it may look odd. Focus on your subject’s facial expression, always avoid having fake expressions, your audience will be able to understand the difference.