The First Step to a Quality Portrait

As a portrait photographer, you probably know how difficult it is sometimes when you try to improve your pictures with the right pose. Portrait photography can be quite challenging sometimes, especially when your mind goes blank and your creative ideas run amok.

how to take a quality portrait photo

Photo by Geoff Livingston; ISO 500, f/6.3, 1/200-second exposure.

In contrast, action photos are much simpler to take. The mood of the subject is naturally expressed, captured forever, the background tells the viewer where the picture was taken and the whole photograph is as natural as it gets. It tells the whole story without speaking a word.

first step to take a quality portrait

Photo by Steven Pisano; ISO 1000, f/3.5, 1/800-second exposure.

Attempting to capture natural expressions and moods while posing your subject can prove to be an insurmountable task, especially for the beginner. Perhaps you can avoid the frustration by using posing cards, however, you may be limited to the quantity of the cards you have for your requirements.

It would take a much longer article than this to tell you everything about how to pose your subject, because one of the hardest pictures to take is one where you have to pose the human body. You want the portrait to be as captivating and natural as possible. Please consider the following points that will help to lift your portraiture to a higher standard.

  • The best portraits are the ones that not only capture the physical likeness of a person, but his or her character, as well. At least one element revealing the personality of the subject, or maybe his or her attitude, mannerisms, or other features will make a super portrait, as it will tell us something about them.
portrait techniques for amateur photographers

Photo by Nicolas Alejandro; ISO 200, f/1.8, 1/400-second exposure.

  • It is the portrait photographer who has never met the subject before that is presented with the biggest challenge. He or she must work on the proficiency of studying people, their mannerisms, expressions, reactions, body language, and anything else that can be presented in front of the camera.
  • If you can develop a skill in understanding human nature, it would be a great asset to your photographic profession. Developing this skill mandates getting quickly involved in conversation with the subject, questioning their interests, perhaps evoking reactions or excitement, and really bringing out his or her natural personality.
  • This process results in a more relaxed presence in front of the camera for the subject, with a more at-ease and natural attitude. At this point, it is important to remember not to rush through the portrait session. Do your work, avoiding idle conversation that would take up your time and his or hers. Always boost confidence by telling the person that the session is going well.

Be confident in yourself and portray your confidence at all times during the session. Be relaxed but ready to photograph when the subject is ready. Remember that you are the person in control, and the subject needs to see you that way.

About the Author:
Tom Watson is the owner of indigitalphotography, a website with tips, digital cameras, and resources.

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 Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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

No, my photos are the best, close this forever