If you’re thinking of starting a portrait photography business, it’s a superb way to make a career out of photography. The portrait business photography is lucrative, from new babies to high school seniors or you can just capture the beauty of people. Regardless, there will always be work and money to be made.
That said, you can’t use just any camera to take portraits if you want the best image quality in all your shots. It’s important to have the right gear, whether you’re looking for a camera for travel, street photography, or portraits in a studio.
We put together this guide to help you choose the best camera for portraits. We’ll go over the features a camera should have for portrait photography plus tell you our favorite digital cameras for portrait photographers so you can choose one that works for you.
How to Choose the Best Camera for Portraits
If you want the best camera for portraits, there are several factors to consider. What works best for you depends on the type of portrait photography business you run.
For this guide, we’ll focus on the major features to consider for all portrait cameras.
Autofocus can work for some portrait photographers, but it can become a big problem if there are other subjects or objects in the shot. It will try to focus on these other objects instead of sticking to the person you’re trying to shoot.
So, a camera with a manual focus option can be your best friend. Manual focus allows you to choose what the camera focuses on so there aren’t any errors. Plus, manual focus works great with low light or low contrast areas or settings you might shoot in.
The resolution of your camera determines how much detail is in your photo. With portraiture, you’re focusing on the person – the details of their face, from the texture of their hair to the shine in their eyes.
But you’ll want to hold back on some of these details. Not everyone wants every hair and pore to show up in their portrait. They want to hide what they perceive as their flaws in the image.
So, if you’re shooting portraits, you don’t need the highest resolution camera to capture your beautiful subjects.
Keep in mind, resolution determines the details depending on the size of the image. If you print large images, consider high-resolution cameras.
The ISO sensitivity of a camera is a sensor setting that determines how much light the camera should amplify in the captured image.
A camera with low ISO sensitivity is best for portraits. If there’s a low ISO sensitivity, you can avoid that noisy mess in your portraits.
For the perfect portrait, your camera should have an ISO sensitivity between 100 and 400.
The shutter speed is a very important feature to consider when choosing which portrait camera you should purchase. A high shutter speed ensures a sharp image and keeps up with the ISO sensitivity.
It also depends on the type of portrait photography you shoot; however, with most cameras, you can adjust the shutter speed a bit. What’s advertised is the highest shutter speed the camera can go.
Best Cameras for Portraits
Canon EOS Rebel T6i Camera (Body)
Resolution: It has a decent resolution of 24.2 megapixels.
Focus: With this Canon model, you can choose between autofocus and manual focus for your image.
ISO Sensitivity: The ISO sensitivity rating ranges from 100 to 12800. The lighting doesn’t matter, you won’t need to use flash when shooting.
Shutter Speed: The shutter speed for this camera is five frames per second.
- It has built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity so you can immediately upload your photos to the cloud or an online platform.
- The optical zoom is 3x if you need to zoom in on your subject.
- The camera has a 19-point AF system so you can still capture an image if your subject moves.
Check Price of the Canon T6i at Amazon.
Nikon D810 Fx-Format Camera (Body)
Focus: This Nikon camera has both autofocus and manual focus so you can choose which option to use based on the type of portrait you’re taking.
Resolution: It has a resolution of 36.3 megapixels for just the right amount of detail in your portrait.
ISO Sensitivity: The ISO sensitivity ranges from 64 to 12800, great for low light portraits.
Shutter Speed: It has a shutter speed of five frames per second.
- The camera has a wide dynamic range to prevent both overexposed and underexposed images.
- It has a RAW small size option so you can create 16mp images in small file size to save room on your memory card and computer.
Check Price of the Nikon D810 at Amazon.
Olympus Om-D E-M5 Mark III (Body)
Focus: This Olympus model has both autofocus and manual focus. The manual focus will be your best friend while taking complex portraits.
Resolution: It has a moderate resolution of 20.1 megapixels.
ISO Sensitivity: The impressive ISO sensitivity ranges from 200 to 25600.
Shutter Speed: The shutter speed is five frames per second.
- It has a weather-sealed body and lens as well, so you can use it in light rain for street photography without worrying about ruining your expensive Olympus camera.
- It’s super portable so you don’t have to just sit in the studio for your portraits.
- The camera has a five-axis (5.5 EV) image stabilization in case you have a moment of shaky hands. It won’t blur the image you shoot.
- The AF system is 121-point all cross-phase detection.
The Bottom Line
Portraits bring out the beauty and personality of every subject you shoot. It doesn’t matter if you’re shooting in a studio or outside in nature, the right image of someone captures everything.
That’s why it’s important to use the best camera for perfect portraits.