Tips For Portrait Photographers – Things to Think About While Shooting
As an experienced portrait photographer of over seven years, I’d like to provide you with some valuable tips to help you while you are photographing a portrait session. These are some things that you may not be doing as a newer portrait photographer, so I hope that my tips will help you to think about these things that will in turn provide you with better quality portraits.
• SCANNING: While shooting, here are some things you want to keep in mind… keep an eye on people’s clothing and hair. Also, if you are shooting multiple people in one shot, try to keep your eyes scanning through your lens for everyones expressions, especially baby and children. Often at the start of the shoot I will tell the parents to continue to look at me and smile (for the posed shots of everyone looking at the camera) and to not talk to their kids while I’m shooting, because much of the time they will be telling the kids to look at me, etc, and then by the time the kids look at me and I get the to smile the parents are still talking and not smiling yet and so they basically ruin those shots. So I tell them to keep looking at me smiling so that when the kids do look at me and smile, I can shoot away and get those great happy shots.
• BLINKS : Another big tip while shooting is when you are done with one sequence of shots (meaning you have everyone in the shot in one pose or one thing you are trying to capture) , look through the photos you just took very quickly to make sure that you got some of what you want where no person is blinking. If you don’t, you could get home and view the images on your computer only to realize that you wasted all that time trying to get a certain shot you wanted, then not having one that is good. Plus sometimes when this happens, your client will contact you once they are viewing the images and ask you what happened to all those shots that you were taking… so it is really best to get into the habit of quickly looking through that sequence of shots after you take them.
• AMOUNT OF SHOTS PER SEQUENCE: On the amount of shots that you take per sequence, my strong suggestion is to not over shoot any one type of shot that you are trying to capture. When I first starting doing portrait photography, I would over shoot almost everything to make sure that I was getting many great shots for my clients… which would end up being too long of a photo shoot and too long of time spent on the back end at home sorting through all the images. As my skills improved, I started to know exactly when I got the shots that I wanted, and learned to stop shooting that sequence at that point. The sooner you can do this, the better it is for your client and for you. If you are shooting a family, especially with older people or children, keep in mind that you should be working as quick as possible to get the shots you want, without making your client feel rushed at all.
• WHEN YOU THINK YOU’RE DONE SHOOTING: When you think you are done with your photo shoot, think about whether or not there is anything other shots that you would like to capture or maybe have forgotten to get. Here is a good example… you have a family of four with a mom, dad and two children. You take photos of the whole family together, sibling shots, individuals of each child, and also shots of just mom with the kids… but then you think about all the variations of groupings you took and then realize that you forgot to get shots of the dad with the kids… so then at that point you tell the family what else you’d like to get.
As always, practice is key. The more you photograph, the more you will learn, and the better you will get.