Full Body Portrait Photography Guide

senior portrait of girl

When To Take Full Body Photographs

At a wedding, full body photographs are one of the most important shots you’ll need to take. These photos are often taken at the ceremony, or in a large group photo after the vows. Full body portraits can also be an excellent way to end an event or add variety to your portfolio.

I take full body portraits for my clients and highly recommend learning how to do the same as it will open up your photography business.

The Gear You’ll Need

Your portrait camera will do great for headshots as well as full body portraits. You can check my guides for portrait cameras for more info on what to look for.

A good lens for full body portrait photography is the 50mm lens which gives you a focal length of 50mm. For portraits it is best to use a wide angle lens. I suggest using either the 50mm, 85mm or 105mm focal length for full body portraits.

You’ll also need light. A flash is helpful for your shot, but if not you can go without it and still make great photos.

I prefer to use natural lighting for most of my portraits and I always make sure that I have the subject facing the sun. For this reason I do not suggest using flash for full body portraits, especially if you are in a poorly lit area. If the light is dim or there are shadows it can make your image look artificial.

Be careful when choosing backdrops, as you may find that the color of your background does not match your clothes and hair style. For this reason I do not recommend using a background completely white. Instead I suggest using a black or neutral colored background. Backgrounds that are too dark can make your subject look small and can also cause poor contrast.

Any self respecting portrait photographer should have a good tripod as well. Tripods will allow you to use slow shutter speeds for natural light full body portraits. As always, be aware of the time of day when you are taking these photos and make sure not to take them too late in the day or during low light.

Other than that, there isn’t much else you’ll need for this type of shot.

Full Body Portrait Photography Tips

For full body portraits you will want to utilize the rule of thirds. This rule will help you better compose full body shots. To better understand the rule of thirds I suggest reading my article titled “Using the Rule of Thirds”

At a wedding, full body portraits are one of the most important shots you’ll need to take. These photos are often taken at the ceremony, or in a large group photo after the vows. Be certain to take full body images of every important person in the wedding.

You’ll also need to adjust your settings for your shot. For most full body shots I take, I use a 50mm lens at an aperture of 2.8 with ISO 100 and 1/90 shutter speed. I also use a tripod for each shot to help ensure correct exposure and focus.

After you take the shot, be sure to check it against your other portraits to make sure you got it right.

Bottom Line

Full body portrait photography is an important part of any photographer’s portfolio. Whether it be a wedding, family or business portrait, full body photography helps you tell a story about your subject with every shot you take.

Remember to use the rule of thirds in the shot and be sure to adjust your settings for each subject. These tips will help you get the most out of your full body photography.