5 Mistakes New Portrait Photographers Should Avoid

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Are you a new portrait photographer and wondering why your portraits are not turning out that great?  It may be something you are not doing right.  Here are 5 mistakes new portrait photographers should avoid:

1. Too much or too less brightness:  New portrait photographers often are not able to judge what is the perfect light required for a portrait.  You may shoot in bright sunlight leading to harsh shadows over your subject’s face, or you may not have enough light to get a clear portrait.  When you plan your portrait shoot, keep in mind the surroundings.  In a studio, you can play around with the lighting until you get it just right.  When outdoors, the perfect light can be more tricky.  Always try to shoot in the shade with your subject facing the direction of sunlight.  This generally will give you the best results.

2. Too many props or accessories:  Typical rookie mistake.  Use minimal props and only those which add value to the portrait.  Avoid any clutter in the background or around your subject.  Also try and keep your subject’s accessories to a minimum so that the focus remains their face and expression.

3. Trying to get young children to pose:  Not only is it practically difficult to get young children to pose for long photo shoots, but such still poses do not produce great portraits.  Ideally, young children’s portraits should be taken in natural poses such as playing, running or jumping.  This means the child is free to move about and do their thing while you shoot.  This in turn keeps the child happy and gives your some great poses and expressions.

4. Subject not comfortable:  Many people are camera shy and find it difficult to pose for photographs.  If you have never met or interacted with the subject before the shoot, they will feel even more awkward, leading to stiff poses and uncomfortable-looking expressions.  Try to get to know them a bit and make them feel comfortable before the shoot so they are relaxed and ready to give you some natural looking poses and expressions.

5. Missing equipment:  Leaving out required equipment is another mistake new portrait photographers should avoid as it could affect your shoot and lead to inconvenience to your subject.  Make a checklist of everything you need well before the shoot.  This would include camera, back-up camera, extra lenses or flash, reflectors, protective gear for your equipment, etc.   The night before the shoot, go through this list and ensure that each item has been packed.  This will go a long way in keeping you organized and help you complete your shoot smoothly and efficiently.

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