Portraits are a classic element in photography. Whether you're capturing the likeness of a celebrity or capturing your family, there are several ways to make a portrait photograph better. These tips can get you started!

There are several ways to make a portrait photograph better, but these tips can get you started.

There are several ways to make a portrait photograph better, but these tips can get you started.

  • Give direction. As the photographer, it's your job to guide your subject through the photo shoot. You want them to look their best and feel comfortable during the shoot. First, let them know what you're going for in terms of style or mood--such as "I'm going for an edgy look," or "Let's try something fun." Then ask questions like "How do you feel about this?" or "How do you want me to pose you?" By asking questions and getting feedback from your subject, they will be more likely to relax while also giving their input into how they're portrayed in each individual shot.
  • Get lighting right! Like all great photography (portrait or otherwise), lighting is key! It may sound obvious—but there are so many things that affect quality lighting: where we choose our location; time of day; weather conditions; and even which lens we use! If possible find a location with natural light (like outside), but if not then consider using artificial lighting like flashlights if needed just remember that too much light can create harsh shadows which can ruin an otherwise nice photo so keep them out at least three feet away from subject at all times unless specifically asked otherwise by client/model for close-up shots only when necessary due to lack of other options available within budget constraints etcetera . Also remember: never ever use flash directly against face; either above head level pointing down slightly towards face area instead--with subjects eyes closed

1. Give Direction to the Subject

If you want the subject to look toward the camera, move your body so that it is between them and the background. Tell them to look at you, or even better, ask them a question or make a joke so that their attention is focused on you. If they are looking off-camera, they may not be as engaged in the process and could therefore become bored or distracted easily.

If your subject isn't looking into the lens of your camera, ask them why they aren't doing so-- perhaps there's something more interesting in their peripheral vision? Are they uncomfortable with direct eye contact? Ask if they would mind trying again while looking straight at you instead of away from you (if this seems like an issue).

2. Get the Lighting Right

Lighting can make or break a portrait. You want to use natural light whenever possible, but sometimes you'll need to add some artificial fill-in flash (see tip #4) or reflector if the sun is too harsh, since you don't want your subject's face to look like an overripe tomato! Remember: soft sunlight creates beautiful backlit photos that are warm and flattering, while harsh direct sunlight can cast unflattering shadows on your subject's face.

3. Make it Comfortable for the Subject

  • Stools are the best option when you’re looking to make your subject comfortable. They can be used in any setting and will support anyone who sits in them.
  • Chairs are also a great choice for making your subject comfortable, especially when they have arms.
  • Benches are another good option if you have more than one person in the shot—they allow people to sit next to each other without feeling crowded or uncomfortable.
  • Couches can work well if they are low enough and wide enough for plenty of room between subjects; this way everyone can get their legs out straight and still feel like they have plenty of space around them, which makes it easier for them to relax into their environment and act naturally during the shoot!
  • Beds come in all shapes and sizes so make sure that you pick one that feels right for your subject(s) based on how tall or short they may be compared with other members within group portraits shots (for example: I wouldn't recommend using an air mattress since it would cause everyone else too much pain).

4. Use Props to Tell a Story

Props can be used to tell a story. They can also be used to help the emotion of your portrait. Here are some examples.

  • A couple kissing in the rain tells us that love is messy, and we love it for that fact!
  • A man holding his wife's hand after she has just won an award shows us that he is proud of her achievements, even if they aren't as important as his own.
  • A woman holding her child near a river tells us that this is what life means to them: togetherness and family bonding through nature..

5. Capture Emotions

The fifth key to improve your portrait photography is capturing emotion. This means taking a moment to consider the feelings you want to evoke in your subject, as well as what feelings you want to capture while taking their portrait. It also includes being mindful of how those emotions affect both the subject and yourself, especially since it can be easy for people to get lost in the moment when photographing family members or friends.

So let's say that I'm photographing my daughter on her birthday, with our pet parrot sitting on her shoulder (a common theme at our house). I've asked her if she wants me to take some photos of them together before we go out for dinner; I tell her there's no time pressure so if she doesn't feel like posing right now, that's fine. She agrees and hands over one of those large stuffed animals from under her bed; she explains that this is her favorite animal because it was given to her by another family member who has passed away recently and she misses him very much right now.

I can tell by looking into his eyes how much he loves his new friend—and now that he has someone else who'll always be there for him no matter what happens next... well... let’s just say this photograph wouldn't have been possible without capturing these two emotions along with everything else happening around us at the time (like making sure my camera settings were correct).

So, let's recap:

  • Lighting is the most important factor in portrait photography.
  • Natural light is best for portraiture as artificial light can cause a hard and unflattering look, especially when using flash.
  • A natural look can be achieved by using a softbox or diffused flash that bounces off of a reflector board (or wall) into the subject’s face for soft shadows and highlights on their skin tone that mimic daylight conditions .
  • Find the right distance between your subject and background to create depth of field in their face and body while still showing off their personality through facial expressions .
  • Practice makes perfect! Don't worry if you don't get it right the first time around - just keep trying until you achieve perfection! :-)