Portrait Photography: 5 Beginner Mistakes to Avoid

Starting something new is always the hardest part. Chances are you’ll feel lost most of the time. The worst part is when you keep repeating the same mistakes and you have no one to correct you. In photography, this can severely impact your attitude and budding career before it even takes off. If you’re someone trying out portrait photography for the first time, and struggling with finding good advice, you’ll love what we’ve got for you today. In this video, portrait photographer Chris Chu shares some tips on avoiding common portrait photography mistakes. Whether you’re a film photographer or a digital shooter, you’ll definitely find his tips useful.

One common mistake that a lot of beginner portrait photographers make is to include a lot of elements in the frame. This is counterproductive, as the surrounding elements compete with the main subject, thereby diluting the essence of the image. As Chu suggests, a better approach is to cover a greater portion of the frame with the main subject. This draws attention to the subject. Another good idea is to use a shallow depth of field to blur the distracting elements and make the subject stand out. But, again, as Chu later points out, it is not always a good idea to have your lens wide open every time just to obliterate the background.

Context is definitely important—and you can provide context by using a reasonably greater depth of field. While doing so, make sure that the background or foreground elements don’t interfere with the subject. Instead, look at how those elements can frame the subject better, or even act as pointers or leading lines to guide the viewers toward the subject.

Besides these beginner problems and solutions, Chu also shares some useful tips regarding ways to avoid blurry and out-of-focus images. He also shares some useful tips on and nailing your skin tones and keeping focus sharp. These tips will definitely help you improve your portrait photography, so we highly recommend you watch the complete video.

Which is your favorite portrait photography tip for beginners?

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