People Photos require many of the skills used in other types of photography. However, as in other photography, the results have more to do with what the photographer does than the camera used.
Making Good People Photos Depends on Good Orientation
First let us talk about camera positioning. You might be accustomed to using the camera in the landscape position, but think about it. Like the name implies, this positioning is for landscapes. The only time this orientation is for people is when they are in a group.
The only other time the landscape mode should be used is when you get in close enough to get a shoulder shot or if you want to include something else in the shot. It’s a matter of composition.
Making Good People Photos Depends on Good Framing
Get in close. Generally speaking you should fill the frame with your subject. To do this you will need to get in close enough so that the subject is cut off at the waist, and there is little space above his head.
If you wish to photograph the subject full length from some reason, do so but do not include anything distracting in the frame. The subject has to have something behind him, but make sure it is a plain background. A cloudy sky makes a good background, but do not include shots in bright sunshine unless you are familiar with how to handle the brightness.
You should make sure that anything is the background is bland and unable to distract from the subject. For instance, if you choose the wall of a building as a background get in close so only the wall is in the frame. Otherwise you can use a zoom lens and focus so that the background is blurred.
Making Good People Photos Requires Avoiding Harsh Shadows
If you are photographing under cloudy skies shadows will not be much of a concern. If you are under sunlight the colors will be better, but then you will have to deal with the shadows. The best way to eliminate shadows on the face is to have the subject look toward the sun.
If your shadow gets into the frame, have the subject look in the direction of the sun without looking directly into it. You will need to position yourself accordingly.
You could instead shoot with the light in the background of the subject so that his entire face is in shade and expose accordingly. Of course the subject cannot be directly in front of the sun as glare would be a problem.
Making Good People Photos Depends on Good Camera Position
Now let us consider the elevation of the camera with respect to the subject. The most neutral position is to have the camera be exactly on the level of the eyes. Another good position is slightly below eve level. The level of the camera can have a large impact on the appearance of the eyes and face. Ideally, shoot at more than one level to be able to choose the one that gives the look you desire.
The position of the subject himself affects the quality of the shot. Instead of always shooting head-on walk around the subject until you find the best position. Some people have a “good” side, usually one that makes them look slimmer. Shoot them from their “good” side.