Basic Tips for Photographing People

A new original series by VSCO kicks off with a break down of how to photograph people. Lesson 1 talks about the basics—the general rules to keep in mind when pointing your camera in the direction of your subject, whether that person is a friend, a family member, or a stranger on the street:

There are two main things to consider when photographing people:

1. Anyone can be photographed.

Well, unless they don’t want to be photographed. In that case, don’t take their picture; move on to the next subject.

2. Everyone is unique and interesting.

You don’t need to dress them up or pose them; all you really need for a great portrait is a camera and a person.

“It’s not always about getting the most pristine image; a portrait is really about a moment with a person and that moment can be something that’s happy, sad candid, weird, or anything else.”

portrait of sad child

There are so many different types of people and so many different types of ways to photograph them. Don’t be intimidated by that; you just need to relax and take the photos, don’t stress about it. If you’re tense, your subject will be tense.

unique portrait

If you need to experiment a bit before you hit the streets to take pictures of complete strangers, that’s fine. Find a friend or a family member that you feel comfortable with and who will let you practice on them. Get comfortable and confident by taking their portrait in candid situations, like at a party or family gathering.

Like This Article?

Don't Miss The Next One!

Join over 100,000 photographers of all experience levels who receive our free photography tips and articles to stay current:

Leave a Comment

Personalize your comment with an avatar from!

Prove Your Humanity * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

New! Want more photography tips? We now offer a free newsletter for photographers:

No, my photos are the best, close this forever