Tips & Tricks

5 Tips for Shooting Portraits

By Abby Schreiber

You don't need tons of fancy gear to shoot a good photo - that much has become clear (especially with how advanced cameras on mobile devices have become)! But for some, taking a photo of a person rather than a landscape can feel intimidating.

Photo credit: Taisiia Shestopal

Here are some tips on how to take your portraits from “good” to “great.”

1. Natural light is always best. We’ve sung this song before, but it bears repeating! Regardless of whether you’re shooting indoors or outdoors, natural light will bring out elements that are, well, natural! It’s the best way to accurately reflect the colors in your subject. Plus, you’ll save tons of money (lighting is expensive)!

2. Choose a neutral background. Now, when I say “neutral,” I don’t necessarily mean a blank wall. But your subject should be the star! There are always exceptions to this rule (like taking a photo of your kid in a pumpkin patch - how could you resist?), but even then, adjust your focal point to compensate.

3. Don’t be afraid to shoot off center. Like we mentioned in the landscape photography article, you can always go by the Rule of Thirds when it comes to composition. A center-focused shot is great for professional headshots, though!

Photo credit: Ben O'Bro

4. Go for natural reactions. Sometimes, you want a moody photo - you’re looking for brooding expressions, and that’s fine! But if a smile is your goal, try to get a real one. Talk to your subject. Make them laugh! Then click, click, click. One of your frames is certain to have that natural grin!

5. Practice with self-portraits. Camera timers are wonderful things - use them! This will help you test out poses, lighting, and really anything you want.

Remember, none of these are hard & fast rules. If you have a method that works for you, go for it! These tips are simply there to help you get started.

If any of these tips help you take the portrait of your dreams, share them with us!

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