woman full body photo by @bokehandvignette

A Beginner's Guide to Full Body Photography: Camera Settings | Lens | Posing Tips

If you are a photographer or want to be one, you must have seen some fantastic full-body portraits of people in magazines, billboards, and other places and wondered how they take such amazing photos? Well, it's not as difficult as it seems.

This article discusses everything you need to know about full body photography, from what it is to what you need to do and have to take stunning full-body shots.

What Is Full Body Photography?

Full body photography is a type of photoshoot that aims at representing the subject accurately from head to toe and shows their features, proportions, and, most importantly, their personality, compared to headshots or other lifestyle photography.

It involves taking photos of people from a distance so that their whole body is visible in the frame.

There are three types of portraits by length. These are:

1. Head and Shoulders

It is also called a bust portrait. As suggested by the name, in this, only the head and the shoulders of the subject are captured. You crop out the background and the rest of the body because they are less critical in this case.

woman's photo with Kate Retro Wall Backdrop Portrait Photography

Kate Retro Wall Backdrop Portrait Photography

2. Three Quarter Length

In this type, you take the photo in a way that the subject is visible from the top of the head to the mid-thigh or below the knee. Most photographers consider this type of portrait less popular because it gives an incomplete depiction of the subject which is unclear.

3. Full Length

As the name suggests, in this type of portrait, the subject's whole body is captured in the frame from head to toe. Artists use full length portraits to include the photo's environment or background to give it a complete look. It also helps in adding more context to the photo.

Camera Setting for Full Body Photography

To take stunning body full body photographs, you must understand how to use your camera settings. You will need to master several settings to take full body photos that are in focus, well-exposed, and composed. 

woman's full body photo with Kate Retro Wall Backdrop Old Blue Designed by Chain Photography

Kate Retro Wall Backdrop Old Blue Designed by Chain Photography

1. The Drive Mode

Many cameras, such as the DSLR, have different drive mode settings, such as single and continuous shooting modes.

  • Single shooting mode. As the name suggests, this mode allows you to take one photo at a time. This is the best mode to use if your subject is not moving around too much or even posed.
  • Continuous shooting mode: This mode is ideal for full-body shots, allowing you to take multiple photos quickly. This is perfect if your subject is moving around a lot.

2. The Shutter Speed and ISO

If the subject is in low lighting, you will need to use a slower shutter speed so that more light can enter the lens and hit the sensor and a higher ISO so that the image is not too dark. However, if the subject is in good lighting, you can use a faster shutter speed and a lower ISO. You can also use a softbox and reflector to modify the light set-ups.

3. Picture Style

This setting on your camera allows you to change the look of your photos. You will want to use a setting that gives the photo a natural look for full-body shots. An excellent example of this is the portrait setting.

mom and kid full body photo with Kate Deep Green and Brown Texture Abstract Background Photos Backdrop

Kate Deep Green and Brown Texture Abstract Background Photos Backdrop

4. White Balance

This setting allows you to change the color temperature of your photos. There are many different settings that you can use depending on the lighting conditions. Use a setting that matches the lighting conditions for environmental portraits.

5. File Format

This is the setting that allows you to choose the file format of your photos. The two most popular file formats are JPEG and RAW. For full-body shots, it is best to use the RAW file format so that you can edit the photo later and not lose any detail.

6. Nailing Focus

This is one of the most important settings for full-body shots. You should ensure that your focus is on the subject, not the background. One photography tip to do this is to use the single-point autofocus setting.

Lens Selections for Full Body Photography

The most important thing to consider when choosing the best lens for full body photography is the focal length, the distance from the lens to the subject, which determines how much the subject will be in focus and the depth of field.

girl's full body photo with Kate Dark Chocolate Texture Abstract Background Photos Backdrop Portait

Kate Dark Chocolate Texture Abstract Background Photos Backdrop Portait

There are many different types of lenses available for full body photography, and the right lens you choose will depend on the look you are trying to achieve.

1. 35MM Lens

This is a wide-angle lens that is great for capturing whole-body shots. When using it, ensure that your subject's entire body is at the center of the frame, as this lens can distort the edges.

Moreover, when shooting your subject at an angle, placing the camera at a lower position would be best. This is because it can lengthen your subject's legs, making them look taller.

2. 50MM Lens

This is a standard lens that is perfect for capturing full-body shots. It is not as wide as the 35mm lens, so that you won't get the same amount of distortion. This portrait lens is also great for close-up shots for your personal preference.

3. 85MM and 105MM Lenses

These telephoto lenses capture close-up shots of your subject's face and body. When using a 105mm lens, you must stand a bit further away from your subject for a full-body photo. However, this weakens the communication between you and your subject, making it difficult to give directions.

woman's full body photo with Kate Abstract Texture Like Rusty Iron/Abstract texture beige a little green color Maternity Collapsible Backdrop Photography

Kate Abstract Texture Like Rusty Iron/Abstract texture beige a little green color Maternity Collapsible Backdrop Photography

Posing Tips for Full Length Portraits

For you to look your best in a full length portrait, there are some full body pose tips for your body language that you can follow. These are:

  • Move your ears forward: This might seem like a strange tip, but it can make a big difference in how your face looks in photos. When your ears are forward, it creates the illusion of a slimmer face. It also gives you a more flattering look and helps smoothen your jawline for better photos.
  • Redistribute your weight: Put more weight on your back leg and foot, as this will give you a very flattering S-curve look. Be careful not to lean too far back, as this can make you feel uncomfortable and unbalanced.
  • Have a slight forward lean from your waist: This will help to elongate your body and make you look slimmer, which is also one of the popular model poses.

girl's full body photo with Kate Abstract Gold Backdrop for Photography

Kate Abstract Gold Backdrop for Photography

  • Distance your torso from your arm: You can bend your elbow slightly and bring your hand up to your chest, so your arm is not glued to your side. This will help give you a more flattering look.
  • Avoid facing straight onto the camera: Try to have your body with a slight camera angle. This will help to slim down your appearance.
  • Stand up straight: You should avoid slouching as this can make you look broader and shorter. Instead, stand up tall and proud as this can make you look taller and slender.
  • Move around a bit: You can try to walk around, swish your skirts if you wear one, or even dance a little. This will help to add some movement and life to your portrait creating a more dynamic and flattering look.


Despite how daunting it may initially seem, full-body photo is one of the most rewarding genres you can explore. Not only do you get to capture the subject in all their glory, but you also get to show off your creative skills and composition.

With a bit of practice, you'll be able to take full body pictures that are technically excellent and visually stunning.

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