Do Portrait Photos Look Better at F/1.2 or F/16? You May Be Surprised (VIDEO)

Shooting portraits that make you and your model proud requires a fair amount of skill and preparation. And as you’ll see in this quick tutorial, doing things a bit differently can make your images stand out from the rest.

Conventional wisdom is to shoot wide open, to separate your model from the background. But in the video below, you’ll see how the “extreme” approach of stopping down your lens can result in some very pleasing people pictures.

Julia Trotti is a fashion photographer based in Sydney, Australia, and in this behind-the-scenes video she demonstrates the difference between shooting portraits at f/16 and f/1.2. As she notes, “portrait photography is very subjective,” but if you try her approach of using extreme apertures, you may be surprised with your results and add a unique look to your images.

Trotti is shooting outdoors under available light. She says she typically uses wide apertures for portraits, but actually prefers some of the images made at f/16 in this photo session. While watching her work, you’ll also pick up some valuable tips on composition, posing a model, and shooting under harsh light. She also explains why images shot at f/16 often require a slight bump in saturation.

You can find more portrait photography tips on Trotti’s YouTube channel, and don’t miss an earlier tutorial we posted, demonstrating how portrait images look when shot using a variety of different focal lengths.