How to get the most of your portraits

Shooting portraits can be a scary thing to start doing if you’re not sure how to get started.  Often times I have found this will leave me with bad portraits that I am unhappy showing a client.  However, these tips are useful in finding a way that works for you.  Perhaps not every tip will work but altering each to suit your portrait work can make a huge difference in the way your portraits turn out.

  1. Shoot from above: Changing the angle you work with can make a world of difference when it comes to portraits.  Some people look great from different angles and you’ll want to utilize every angle you have. Make the most of your session with a client by changing your viewpoint.
  2. Get to know your client: Doing a short interview with your client beforehand can give you an idea of what kind of photographs they are looking for.  This doesn’t have to be a sit down approach either; just having a decent conversation with your client while doing test shots can break the ice and make them more comfortable around the camera.
  3. Offer multiple locations: This may be a more costly way of improving your portraits, however; shooting from multiple places can create a better portrait.  Perhaps one location doesn’t work for the look but another does; you can even save these different locations as ‘separate’ shoots when posting on social media. There may be some days you won’t know what to post but having multiple location shoots can extend your posting strategy.
  4. Discuss your vision: Talking with your client or model about what you want to accomplish at the shoot is a big deal.  This can possibly make or break the whole day of shooting.  For me, a client can perceive something an entirely different way than I do, so it’s nice to have a talk about the style and poses of the shoot.  Even bringing along some inspiration from similar looks or poses you trust can help get a better understanding across because communication is key!

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So there you have it.  My top four ideas on how to improve portraits.  As I said above, communication is key.  If everyone is on the same page the shoot can run smoothly.  Getting your thoughts and ideas across can change your photos for the better.  Then you can add in shooting from different angles and there you are; shooting at ease with your client or model.

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