One of the biggest leaps you can make as a beginning portrait photographer is taking control of your lighting. It can be daunting at first, but having that skill down is well worth the time and effort. This helpful video will get you started.
Coming to you from Ed Verosky, this video details five tips to keep in mind when you're learning portrait lighting. As he mentions, get your flash off the camera as soon as possible. You don't need expensive monolights and triggers to do this. For example, you can put this great starter's kit with a wireless (I prefer that simply because I'm clumsy and inevitably trip over wires) speedlight together for $259:
- Yongnuo YN600EX-RT II
- Yongnuo Wireless Transmitter
- Impact 6' Light Stand
- Umbrella Bracket With Cold Shoe
- 33" White Translucent Umbrella
- 5-in-1 Reflector
Of course, as you get better, you'll want to start experimenting with more controlled modifiers and the like, but getting that light off camera is a huge first step that will not only improve your results, but teach you to better read and sculpt light. If you would really like to dive into portrait lighting, check out "Peter Hurley: Illuminating the Face!"