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Guide for High-Speed Portrait Photography: 4 Tips from Experts

Guide for High-Speed Portrait Photography: 4 Tips from Experts

Your photography career and hobby most likely began with portrait photography, a niche that aims to capture people’s personalities in photographs. It’s a good introduction to photography, with little to no barrier to entry. A person with a camera can easily begin shooting portraits, and as a beginner, it’s a good exercise of the fundamental skills that have to be mastered for photography. It is a practice that will sharpen your use of ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. Once you master these basics, it’s time to move up to the big leagues. You can opt to explore other niches, or build upon your basic knowledge of portraiture. One specialty you can try out is the art of high-speed portrait photography.

High-speed photography is one of modern technology’s byproducts. With the introduction of high-speed sync flashes, photographers are able to take beautiful photos a lot easier, while also providing more possibilities in terms of creative photography. Through this, portrait photographers have conceived outdoor images that are not overexposed, and allows viewers to direct their full attention towards the subject of the photo. By choosing a larger aperture and a faster shutter speed, they can ensure a shallower depth of field, soften backgrounds, or darken the sky for drama. The same technique can be done in brightly-lit rooms, or other places where you do not have much control over lighting.

To help you get into this niche, we recommend that you invest in a modern trigger device like the MIOPS Smart+ Camera Trigger, which can control either your camera or flash. This handy device, which is already used by experts, is very useful because of its wide array of trigger modes, and its ability to transform your camera into a high-speed capture device. Its best application in high-speed portraiture is to use it as a high-speed flash trigger. Your flash will be a key component in this niche, as it will help supplement illumination that is lessened by the narrow aperture you will be using. All you need to do to set it up is to connect the camera trigger via the accompanying flash connection cable. Download the MIOPS Mobile app on your smartphone’s application store, then use the app to switch to the cable release mode. 

To get you started, here’s a guide for high-speed portrait photography:


1. Lessen blur.

Before the more creative uses of high-speed portrait photography, here’s a basic one: to remove blurs and camera shakes. For photographers who prefer holding their cameras, a high-speed sync flash can do the trick. This is especially true for outdoor photographers, who do not have the luxury of time to set up their tripods every time they change locations. Holding your camera can spell the difference between great pictures and missed opportunities. Moving around and following your models is more common outdoors. To have candid photos, you’d have to be ready for spontaneous moments. Having a high-speed sync flash ready will help you take quick snapshots minus the camera shakes.


2. Use a shallow depth of field.

Depth of field is one of the most essential facets of photography that you have to master. It is basically the distance between objects in your photographs, relative to the subject that you want to focus sharply on. In brightly-lit places, your images can tend to appear flat because of too much depth of field. This means that everything will be in-focus, distracting from the hero of your photo. To avoid this, you can adjust your camera’s aperture. You can begin at f/4, and then adjust to a larger aperture depending on how little you want to highlight in the picture. Just remember that larger apertures result in a shallower depth of field, and a faster aperture.

Related Article: What is the Depth of Field in Photography?


3. Darken the sky.

If you’re shooting during the day but want to achieve a darker backdrop, you can turn to high-speed portraiture. You can do this by underexposing the daylight, and setting your shutter speed at a much faster rate. This limits the light that enters your aperture, helping you achieve the dramatic result that your portrait needs. You can use this technique for creative portraiture, and maybe even moody wedding photographs.


4. Capture action.

High-speed sync flash can help you capture movement no matter your light source. As soon as you opt for higher shutter speeds, you’re guaranteed to capture any movement in front of your camera. With this ability, you can add creative elements to your portraits. Your models can move around, dance, and maybe even make gestures that represent their personalities. Some photographers are able to go to even more creative routes with the addition of water, smoke, powder, paint, and other props imaginable. Really, once you master the techniques behind high-speed portraiture, everything is possible.

Related Article: How to Choose a Good Flash for High Speed Photography



High-speed portrait photography offers a lot of practical and creative applications for photographers. The above-mentioned uses are only basics, so we encourage you to build upon this knowledge through experimentation. Great photographers are great at assessing situations and predicting results. By knowing what to expect from high-speed sync, you’ll know whether it is an appropriate time to use the technique.

It would be a great idea for you to practice the technique outdoors. Have your friends come over; photograph your kids; or simply shoot objects that are already outdoors. The key to mastering this technique (or any other technique) is to practice. Through practice, you will learn and understand what your camera and flash can do at different speeds and apertures. Take note of how the lighting differs, and how much shadows are filled in at different settings. Play around with your MIOPS Smart+ Camera Trigger, and see how you can incorporate the modern device into your workflow.

High-speed portrait photography was made possible through the availability of high-speed sync flashes. Since its introduction to photographers, it has been about possibilities and innovation. As a photographer, you are free to take advantage of this gift of technology for your creative pursuits, whether used for high-speed portraiture or other niches. 

Related Article: How to Shoot Portrait Photography Using a Camera Trigger?

Related Article: High Speed Photography Explore Site

How to Shoot Portrait Photography Using a Camera Trigger?

How to Shoot Portrait Photography Using a Camera Trigger?

Portrait photography may be the first thing you learn as a photographer. It is a niche of photography that is focused on capturing a person and their personality in an image. It relies very much on a photographer’s artistry and understanding of appropriate camera settings to capture the best pictures possible. Most of the time, portraits are commissioned and are used by clients in a variety of ways, as a part of their home gallery walls or as biography photos on their websites or books. Needless to say, photographers find that this niche provides them an unending number of shoots. It is not just fun, it is also very lucrative.

What is a Camera Trigger?

To improve your services as a portrait photographer, it is inevitable that you begin investing in accessories that will make your process seamless and efficient. One such investment is the purchase of a nice camera trigger that will guarantee steadier and better shots. It is mainly used to trigger your camera’s lens minus the physical contact with the shutter button. A camera trigger is very handy, especially in situations that require stability to achieve sharp images. This can be used for macro photography, HDR photography, and night photography. However, with a little bit of imagination and creativity, you can also use triggers innovatively for your portraiture.

Cheap camera triggers come with basic remote trigger capability without any extra functionality. However, if you prefer one that will offer more functions, we suggest you check out the MIOPS Smart+ Camera Trigger. More than just a trigger, it offers unique functions that will help you take nearly impossible pictures through a list of diverse photography modes, like lightning, sound, HDR, and Laser. With the MIOPS Smart+ Camera Trigger, you can control your camera with just a press of a few buttons on your smartphone through an application. It can also be used to trigger your flash, not just the camera.

Related Article: What is a Camera Trigger? A Simple Guide for Beginners


How will it help with Portrait Photography? 

Now that you know the basics of what a camera trigger is, here's how to shoot portrait photography using a camera trigger. All you will be needing are a camera, the trigger, some props, and your creativity!

1. Stabilize your shot.

Before using it's more creative uses, master the most basic use of your camera trigger first. Simply attach your trigger to your camera, and use it to fire its shutters. Don’t forget that you will still need to apply all your skills to this shot, so make sure that your subject is ready, the lighting is apt, and your composition is on point.

2. Trigger your flash.

Not many will agree, but using flashes for portrait photography can give natural light a run for its money. As long as you know how to manipulate it's light, you can expect to achieve awesome results. A camera trigger like the MIOPS Smart+ can attach to your flash. Just set up your flash where it will give the perfect lighting that will be flattering to your subject.

3. Play with water.

Portrait photography is more than just taking pictures of people who are sitting right in front of your camera. You can play around with other elements to come up with unique photographs. With something like the MIOPS Smart+ camera trigger in your arsenal, you can take creative water droplet refractions that reflect your client’s photographs.

To do this, set up your camera at a distance from your subject. Attach the MIOPS Smart+ camera trigger to your camera and use the laser mode. Have a setup that will release water drops that will break the trigger’s laser beam. As soon as the water drop breaks its line, the trigger will prompt your camera to take a picture.

Related Article: What Equipment Do You Need to Take Stunning Water Droplet Photos?

4. Let them move.

Some movement will help bring out your client’s characteristics during your shoot. This is especially true when shooting outdoors in a context that is most familiar to your client. If your client is a traveler, maybe a quick stroll in the woods will bring out genuine emotions from them. Make them feel comfortable, and suggest some interaction with their environment.

In cases where movement is necessary, setting up your camera on a tripod will help with stability. Similar to the water drop trick earlier, all you need to do is attach your handy MIOPS Smart+ to the camera and use the laser mode. Advise your clients to move within the laser’s line, and watch your camera capture great photos.

5. Experiment with the shutter speed.

Camera accessories, like the MIOPS Mobile Dongle, can turn your phone into an instant camera trigger. With this accessory, you can keep your camera’s shutter open for as long as you need it to be. With slower shutters, you will be exposing your subject much longer, which will make for unique photographs with dramatic effects.

Doing this is very simple. Set up your camera with the MIOPS Mobile Dongle attached. Modify its settings to keep the shutter open for longer, and ask your subject to make minute movements. It can be something as simple mini head shakes. Another thing you can do is ask someone in the studio to make hand movements within the frame while your main subject sits still. To make the subjects stand out in the photo, you can ask your clients to wear black and use a black background. Also avoid lighting that is too bright, since your shutter will be open for longer.

You see, there is much you can do with your camera alone. However, having a versatile camera trigger on hand will help you capture great photos that your clients will appreciate. The tips that we listed are merely guides. Do not forget to coordinate with your clients before experimenting, since your goal as a portrait photographer is always to represent them at their best in their final photos. Any of these tips can surely help with taking creative shots, but remember that it isn’t just the final photos that your clients will appreciate. More than that, they will remember how you interacted with them, and how you involved them in taking their own portraits.

Related Article: How to Photograph Lightning Using DSLR and Camera Trigger