10 Portrait Photography Tips Every Photographer Should Know

By Emend Studios   in  Photography

Posted On : 04-01-2020


Portrait photography captures the personality of a person with the help of the right elements of photography. How does one take a flawless portrait? Follow the tips below and boost your photography skills.


Chat with the subject to break the ice and make them relaxed. Shooting someone comfortable around will provide you with better results. Ensure that the subject is not too nervous or conscious around you. Joke around with them; humor is a great way to relax someone. 
Don’t shoot in silence, keep up the energy during the session; otherwise, the discomfort will be evident in your shots. 
Stay confident in yourself to avoid passing nervous energy to the subject.


Using props jazzes up and adds excitement to your pictures. They have the ability to change the dynamic of the shot completely and can set the required mood.

The prop must not take the attention away from the subject at any cost. Do not go overboard with the accessories, doing that can completely ruin the picture.
Your signature style can also be set with the usage of props.


Backdrops enhance the story you’re trying to tell through your photo, so selecting the right one is rather important. Being aware of your creative style can further influence your choice of a backdrop.

Blurred backgrounds lead to moody pictures with high focus on the expressions and movement. 

Detailed backgrounds could ruin your portrait by causing distractions, and a simple background may be uninteresting. The trick is to find the perfect balance by finding a backdrop that supports your story can lack an abundance of noise. The most compelling portraits are in natural environments.

For indoor backgrounds, you can use lacy curtains or string lights.


With the person being the focus of the picture, expressions quite possibly play the most important role in the picture. People connect with the subject of the camera, and thus a fake smile does not do the job. REAL expressions intrigue people and engage them in the photograph. Expressions make a portrait, so go ahead and get creative with them!


Getting a picture in focus is an integral part of taking scintillating photographs. Focusing on the eyes of the subject can help if the image is coming out odd. Most cameras have the focus function, however, if you’re getting confused, refer to the owner’s manual.


Light bounces and reflects off the subject, creating unique colors and contrasts. It is essential to photography and is nearly as hard as mastering the understanding of a camera. Before you get too deep into lighting, you should be aware of your needs and should know exactly what you’re attempting to create. That way, you will see whether you wish to have hard or soft light and can also decide accordingly whether to go with continuous lighting or use flash. The sun is the best source, and it’s free! The drawback here is that if you miss the golden hour (an hour after sunrise and before sunset), most photos can come out unflattering.

Artificial light lets you take control, but it can get expensive. 

You can also blend the two.


It's hard to beat an 85mm lens when it comes to portrait photography, and the Nikon 85mm f/1.4G is one of the best portrait lenses ever made. 

Shooting with a wide-angle lens attached to your camera can help create some memorable shots when you’re doing portrait photography. It also adds a rather dramatic effect to the picture when the subject is in an impressive setting.


Usually, portraits are taken at the eye level of the subject, but playing around with camera angles can help spice up your picture and make it stand out, catching the attention of various people in the process of that. You could either take the image from a height or shoot from the level of the floor.

Holding your camera at a diagonal angle can also add some more energy and fun to your shots.


A candid shot is that in which the subject is unaware that the picture is being taken or is too busy to respond to the camera. Candid photography captures the true essence of humanity. The best candid shots can be taken when the camera is small (as it does alert people of a camera and is less threatening), and the location is interesting. A lot of people struggle with posing and look far better in candid photographs.


Shoot multiple pictures at one time by switching your camera to ‘burst’ or ‘continuous shooting’ mode and present a series of shots instead of just one. This is also advisable as one can choose the best picture out of many from the same time. It also helps when the subject is moving, and the portrait is required to capture a split second (for example a person jumping and the photo is to be taken while the person is mid-air)

These are some tips for Portrait photography. There are ‘tips’ and not ‘rules’ so don’t forget to get creative because those pictures are the best, and they are very special to you and your style of photography!