Last week I decided to work on practicing taking portraits – I had an assignment due in my Basic People Photography class (so I really didn’t have much of an option!) and knew that I really wanted to practice what I’ve been learning in all my classes so far. I am lucky enough to have sisters, so I have for the most part several willing subjects for me to practice with :). I went to my sister’s new place to take these portraits because she has amazing natural light – seriously envious!! Sky lights and huge windows that allow the light to just cascade through the room and poor over you!! It’s truly glorious, I may be a bit over dramatic about it but really is a photographer’s dream to have that kind of lighting! Of course it doesn’t hurt that she’s gorgeous either! 🙂
Here are my favorite shots of my sister – it also happens to be her birthday today so HAPPY BIRTHDAY J. LOVE YOU!!!
There are a few key things to think about to make your portrait session go well:
1) Lighting, lighting, oh and did I mention LIGHTING? – so important! Make sure that you have sufficient lighting and that you bring other lighting sources to help fill in any shadows – like your camera flash or speedlight, and/or a white fill card or reflector to bounce softer light back into their face. For my shots I used a white cardboard fill card I bought from the dollar store and my on camera flash – not perfect but it did the job and it didn’t cost me an arm and a leg!
2) Your subject/model/client need to feel comfortable with you – if they feel comfortable then your shooting session will run smoother – you can see the difference when they are uncomfortable they look tense and stiff. Keep it light and fun and relaxed so they can feed off of your comfortableness – music helps if you have it available.
3) Composition is important too – so have an idea in mind before you go and then take a moment to look around at your scene and gather your vision before you start giving instructions.
4) Make sure your communication is good and your directions are clear – ensure they understand what you mean and that you take the time to show them the poses you are wanting from them. Sometimes it helps to have pictures of poses and facial expressions to show them what you are hoping to get from them. Also, it helps to look them in the eye once in a while and not stay behind the camera the whole time.
5) Remember that Practice makes perfect and you can ONLY GET BETTER the more you do it!! Stay positive and look back on how far you’ve come and how much progress you’ve made – it’s pretty amazing.
Hope that was helpful 🙂