Portrait Photography Dos and Don’ts

Here is what you need to know about portrait photography to start shooting like a pro

You don’t really need to have some amazing gear to take amazing portraits. However, you do need to plan, practice, be patient and know what you are doing. If you are looking for some great tips on how to capture some amazing portraits, here are some dos and don’ts that will take you a long way and get you shooting like a pro. Let’s discuss them in detail.

How to take great portraits

The Dos of Portrait Photography

Here are some of the must-do things when you are doing portrait photography.

Focus Should be on the Eyes

If you want to capture some amazing portraits of your subjects, you should always have their eyes at the center of focus. This will make the pictures visually appealing and will keep the interest of the viewers intact. If you feel the eyes should be a little bright, you can try using a flash diffuser. Pro tip: Always focus on the eye closest to you. 

Use Props

If you are using a plain background to click portraits of your subjects, bring in some props to brighten up the images. If you are shooting an accountant, for instance, bring in a tax form or a calculator, laptop or something that pertains to that particular field. This will enhance the impact of the image. However, this cannot be done in very formal portraits. You can also go outside to a park or an interesting building to capture interesting portraits. 

Try Different Poses

There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to posing for portraits. Keep your subjects at ease and do not dictate them on making weird uncomfortable poses. Try out differently relaxed, natural poses and take more pictures that you think are necessary. Let the subjects loosen up and be at ease with you and they will give you some incredible natural poses. Natural photos always look best. Posed photos look forced and fake. Keep it natural.

Be Creative

Don’t limit your creativity even when you are capturing portraits. Talk to your clients and find out about them and what they really want. Once you let them loosen up and know them on a personal level, you will be able to take the best pictures of them. Pro tip: When done with the photoshoot, start editing from the very last photo you took. This will give you the best photos to edit first working your way to the worse. 

Couples portrait

The Don’ts of Portrait Photography

Here are the Don’ts

Don’t Use a Wide Angle Lens to Take Close Up Photos

The linear distortion will be great if you are using a wide-angle lens. Therefore, you should not use these lenses when you are taking close up pictures of your subjects. You don’t want their noses or foreheads to look exaggerated in size. This also makes the face look bigger than the body which looks awkward. On the other hand, if you are shooting a full-length portrait of your subjects, you can then use a wide-angle lens as long as you are far away. Pro tip: Wide angle lenses are great portrait lenses if you are trying to establish a location and capture great Architectural photography. 

Don’t Get Physical with Your Subjects

Touching your subjects is a straight NO. You should not even touch them if you are showing them how to pose. Touching your client is going to creep them out and make them very uncomfortable. Therefore, you should either point them with your hands or give directions to them verbally. This especially applies when you are shooting new clients. 

Keep Away from Harsh Lights

Keeping away from harsh lights is the best thing to do when you are shooting portraits unless you want to emphasize some unflattering features or create deep shadows. The best thing to do is to keep it simple and find open shade and keep the light soft and even. 

Young man portrait

With these dos and don’ts of portrait photography, you will be able to shoot some amazing images that will not only keep your clients happy but also help you improve your portrait photography skills right away.