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Mar 2, 2013

5 Tips For Portrait Photography

Hi!  Life is busy, yada yada, I haven't posted this week.

I crafted this post for Iris last weekend, and she shared it with her readers on Monday, but I thought that I'd share it with you today!

So here are, in my opinion, the 5 big things every photographer should think about, particularly about snapping photos of people, because that's what I do.

1.  Composition
Composition is what makes your photo pleasing to the eye.  Any photographer you talk to will tell you about the rule of thirds.  Imagine breaking your frame into thirds and position the subject of your photo in one of the outermost thirds.  There are times when it's appropriate to put your subject dead center, but often, the most interesting photos are when your subject is positioned to the left or right.  Also be aware of where your light source is and pay attention to the lighting in your frame!

2.  Focus
Its SO important, when photographing people, to make sure your focus is in the right place.  Keep the focus of the photo tack-sharp on the eyes...that's what draws the viewer into the photo!  I love these photos of Kathy and Amanda because the background in both photos is blurred...they have great depth of field, and the focus is sharp on their eyes and face.

3.  Details
Its easy, when shooting portraits, to make sure you get good shots of your subject's face.  But what about all of the other details that make up the shoot?  The thing is, your subject has probably put a lot of thought into their outfit.  If you're doing an engagement shoot, there's a ring involved.  Some of my favorite photos from shoots don't even include the face of the subject!  I love how coordinated Nora and Brad were for their military-inspired shoot, and the way Brad folded Nora's hands into his was just precious...this photo communicates their love for one another without even showing their faces!

4.  Subject
Who is the subject of your photos?  If you're doing a shoot with just one person, the answer is obvious.  When you're doing engagement, couple, or family shoots, you have the ability to switch things up.  Often with engagement shoots, the bride-to-be is featured (and she should be!), but I like to make sure I also get a few shots where I focus on the groom-to-be.  These two photos from my cousin's engagement shoot show examples of featuring both the bride and groom simply by varying who is looking at the camera.

5.  Keep it Fun!
Any time you're taking photos of people, there's the potential for them to be stiff or nervous, and those emotions will come through in their photos!  Look for ways to keep it fun and loose, especially when you're working with kids.  I did a family shoot this fall, and we took advantage of the fall leaves and incorporated them into the shoot!  Sure, we also took serious, posed family shots, but having spent time playing and loosening up at the beginning of the shoot made everyone more comfortable, and made the entire experience fun and exciting!

So those are some of my tips.  I'm definitely still learning and growing as a photographer, but these tips are just some of the things I've learned over the past few years.

You can also find more articles about photography here!


  1. this is such a cute, easy guide! I'm always looking to improve my portrait photography and this is so helpful! thank you!

  2. This is definitely helpful. Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. pinning this!!!! I am learning how to be a better photographer!!!

  4. What lens do you like best for portraits? Thanks! I really enjoyed this post. :)


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