Thursday, October 9, 2014

How to Take a Portrait Like a Pro

I'm back with another photography post! I think the one thing that everyone would like to do is take a great looking portrait. It's really not as difficult as you might think. Here's a few tips and tricks to getting your photos looking great in no time.

1. Use natural lighting. 
Get yourself or your subject in front of an open window with the light coming in. If the light is too harsh, diffuse it by slightly shutting the blinds. The best time to do this is in the morning or early afternoon, before the lighting gets too golden. 

2. Pick a neutral or color complimenting background without a lot of clutter. 
This one is huge! If you have a clashing color in the background, or things that aren't necessary in the picture, then you really distract the viewer. This is also especially true when you have something "growing" out of the person's head.  Make sure you are not in front of anything like a pole, etc.

3. Use manual settings or aperture priority setting. 
This one takes a little time to understand and get used to, but once you do it is so worth it! I seriously never shoot any other way. You can literally control exactly how the pictures come out. Aperture priority (check your camera's manual to see which setting this is) is a step down from manual but you are able to decide how much light comes into the camera, which can allow you to get the blurred background that you always see in portraits.

Want to learn about shooting manually? Check out this website, which has a ton of details on how to use your manual settings. I still use this website when I have questions, or for new ideas. Also, always always ALWAYS look at the directions that came with your camera. They are a lifesaver.

Here's a great article about aperture priority setting, also.

4. Check the focus of photo by zooming in when previewing on your camera. 
This is also key and something I don't always do, unfortunately. Check on the back of your camera that the photos are actually focusing the way you want them to. It may look like it in the eye of your camera and also on the back of the camera, but you really need to zoom in to double check. It's so disappointing when you get them on your computer and that great shot just isn't salvageable.

5. Don't be afraid to try something new. 
This is key in really all forms of art. Have an idea? Go for it! It's better for it not to turn out, rather then being afraid to do it at all. Plus, you will be able to look at your photos and decide how you could improve and make them so much better the next time!

Have some questions about photography? Leave a comment below or shoot me an email, I'd love to help! 


  1. Great tips! And great photos!! I wish I had a nice camera to play around with! It just seems like it would be such fun.

    Katie @ Cup of Tea

    1. I love having one! I have my dad's old DSLR and some good lenses. My neighbors often buy camera equipment on Ebay, worth a look whenever you are ready for an upgrade! Seriously, it makes such a difference.

  2. Awesome tips! I have a compact system camera, but I really need to get a zoom lens with it.

    1. I think it's definitely worth the price. Especially with a little one, you always have a reason to use it :)