April 26, 2024

The Perfect Portrait Photo Formula

The essential equation for photography and AI

Have you ever taken a portrait selfie on your phone or even hired a professional photographer, only to find that some photos exceeded your expectations while others were just okay? Ever wondered what really happens behind that click? What do you do if you like the photos but don't love them? Let's dive into the answers to these questions and more.

Traditional Photography Techniques

For a photo to even be considered viable, it needs to meet the criteria of the exposure triangle: ISO, aperture, and shutter speed.

Credit: Nate Torres from imaginated.com

Let's take a look at examples of each of the three components of the exposure triangle:


ISO manages the lighting in your photo. A high ISO can help in low lighting situations but may cause graining.

Credit: Yehor Mishchenko from skylum.com


Aperture controls the depth of field in your images. A wider aperture (lower f-number) blurs the background, focusing attention on the subject, which is perfect for portraits.

Credit: SmugMug from news.smugmug.com

Shutter Speed

Shutter Speed determines how long the camera’s sensor is exposed to light. Faster speeds can freeze action, while slower speeds may introduce blur, adding a sense of motion to your photos.

Credit: Tati Taylor from fixthephoto.com

Combining these elements, our formula for a technically perfect photo looks something like this:

Perfect Photo = ISO + Aperture + Shutter Speed

But if that's all there was to it, wouldn't all photographers produce similar results? Clearly, there's more to it, which brings us to our next ingredient.

Artistic Touch

Beyond settings, photography is profoundly personal. What truly differentiates photographers is their unique vision, style, and artistic touch. It's the personal flair that each photographer brings to a shoot, influenced by their experiences, preferences, and creative instincts. This unique relationship between the photographer and client can make each session distinct and special.

A good photographer also guides you to pose in ways that flatter and feel natural, all while ensuring you feel comfortable, because let’s be honest - this experience can feel quite uncomfortable. The element of "comfortable" can dramatically change how you perceive the final photo because when you feel good, you look good.

With that being said, the perfect formula with our new additions looks like so:

Perfect Photo = ISO + Aperture + Shutter Speed + Artistic Touch + People Skills

But… Can we make the potion even better?

Integrating AI in Photography

Now, let's talk about the cherry on top: AI. The first thought that comes to mind when hearing the word "AI" in the context of photography may be "fake", or "robotic". The second thought that comes to my mind is "7 fingers on one hand instead of 5". While this was true about a year ago, the most recent iterations of machine learning models have improved drastically. Why not use them to our advantage?

Enhancing Photos with AI

Artificial intelligence is not about replacing the photographer’s touch but enhancing it. AI can perfect a photo by correcting minor imperfections, like a sudden blink or an unwanted shadow. Advanced algorithms can also refine color balances and sharpen details, making a good photo great without undermining its authenticity.

Many photo enhancing AI engines (such as one of the pieces of technology underlying PhotoPacks.AI) allow users to modify images by using text. These advanced models are referred to as text-to-image models. These models allow users to use text to specify the subject of the image, the style, the medium, and many other attributes. By incorporating text such as "fast shutter speed", "wide aperture", or "high ISO", many of the attributes from the exposure triangle discussed above can be used to influence the output images.

For AI to work best, it requires high-quality inputs, which means professionally taken photographs are ideal for training AI models. This synergy allows for AI tools to assist photographers by automating routine editing tasks, from exposure corrections to complex object removals, freeing up creative minds for what truly matters: the art of photography.

In essence, the perfect photo formula isn’t just about the right settings on your camera or even the skilled hands of a photographer — it's also about embracing cutting-edge technology to enhance and perfect the captured moments.

Finally, we arrive at the final equation for a perfect portrait, incorporating all of the factors we have discussed in this article:

Perfect Photo = ISO + Aperture + Shutter Speed + Artistic Touch + People Skills + AI

action shot
Generated by PhotoPacks.AI

The above image, generated by PhotoPacks.AI, was created by focusing on the subject with a narrow depth of field, as can be seen with the out-of-focus background. The blurry flame particles indicate that the shutter speed was set to the slow setting. Low ISO was used since this is a daytime shot with plenty of light available.


The future of photography lies in a powerful partnership between the artist and the machine. This collaboration doesn't dilute the photographer's role but instead enhances it, pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved in both the capture and post-processing stages. As we continue to integrate AI into our photographic practices, we unlock new potentials, making each photo not just technically perfect but truly captivating.

We invite you to explore the convergence of traditional photography skills and AI enhancement using PhotoPacks.AI. Embrace the future where technology empowers creativity.

Background Image