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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:


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.


High-Speed Portrait Photography

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?


High-Speed Portrait 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.


High-Speed Portrait Photography

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


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.



Take impossible photos by turning your camera into a high-speed capture device!


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

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