Nine Awesome Tips for Taking Better Portraits

Portraiture is a fun but also difficult genre of photography, as you have to manage not only your camera but a living, breathing subject. This helpful video will show you nine great tips to improve your portrait work.

Coming to you from Jamie Windsor, this helpful video explores nine ways to improve both posed and street portrait work. Of all the tips, I think trusting your gut and posing are the most important. When I first started taking portraits, I could rattle off all the right settings like a talking photography manual, but my shots all looked stilted and uninspired because I hadn't learned the first thing about posing or interacting with a subject. It was easy to get caught up in learning parameters because they're objective quantities, whereas posing and interaction take a lot more intuition and connecting with your fellow humans. Similarly, there are rules all over the place for portraiture, and while they're certainly helpful guidelines, if your instincts are taking you in a certain direction, give them a chance. That's normally where creativity is waiting to blossom. On another note, be sure to note that when he's talking about the law, he's talking specifically about England, and the laws where you live may differ.

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Whew... that ring light... My gut says that was an awful choice... Dude looks CREEPY to the point I'm not even hearing what he's saying...

Alex Cooke's picture

A lot of YouTube presenters use ring lights; maybe I'm just used to it now. Either way, the information is good.

The content is good. Ring lights are whatever. It's the comments section I can sometimes live without. Good job on the video content.

Try to just listen instead of watching because he's got some really great tips for candid and personality driven portraits. But, yeh, that ring light though...

Samuel Flores Sanchez's picture

For me, the problem with the ring light (colloquially speaking, nor that there is any problem really) is that they have to put closer. When the catch light is small like this case, is not very alluring, but when is bigger and goes around the pupil, is beautiful

Great video and content but I had to focus on her nose because that ring light was awful and very distracting

Jeff McCollough's picture

I saw that on YouTube the other day. I had to stop watching it halfway through.

I found it interesting and the quote "You will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do.” ― David Foster Wallace, I had never heard before is wonderful.

I mostly liked it except for, to paraphrase, it's okay to make people uncomfortable if it means you can get a picture of them being uncomfortable which is, presumably, the "real" them? :-/ If your shot is more important than the person you're photographing, you're an asshole!

Spike S's picture

Plenty of people put themselves in situations that make them feel uncomfortable or awkward. Sports, theater, musicians, they aren't complaining. Some people even pay to get put in uncomfortable situations, try going into the Vietcong tunnels in Vietnam. So why not a model?


Samuel Flores Sanchez's picture

Exactly. Photographer and model has to be in the same page first, know what they want to achieve and how far they want to push it.
In other case, when someone push the situation without consent like a lot of film directors and method actors so they can obtain the "real deal", I have mixed feelings about that. I guess that is more "permissible" when is done between professionals.

. . . thanks for the video. I especially like the quote from David Foster Wallace. I´d like to add two tips for making better videos of yourself from a tripod: don´t stand too close to the lens and put the focus on manual.

Samuel Flores Sanchez's picture

jajajjajajjjajaj and get that ring light closer :D