5 Tips That Will Instantly Make You a Better Portrait Photographer

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3. Become a Master of Light

The difference between a good photographer and a great photographer is the masterful use of light sources. Some solid tips to bear in mind when you’re out on a shoot:

  • Have the subject face the lightsource and shoot with your back to it.
  • If you’re outside and the main light source is directly above you – i.e the sun – have the subject tilt their face ever so slightly upwards. You’ll be amazed at how great this looks.
  • Natural is nearly always better. Of course, it’s not possible to use solely natural light in every occasion and sometimes you might want to bring in studio lighting, but an over-reliance on artificial lighting can make your portrait photography look like stock photography.
  • As we discussed earlier in our How to Master Ocean Photography post, the “golden hour” is an indispensable tool and a gift you should accept with both hands when doing portrait photography outside; here’s a very handy tool that can help you figure out exactly when that is for your location and time of year.

4. Aperture Priority Mode

It’s not “cheating” to let your camera do the hard work for you… in fact, making the job easier is one of the main benefits of the DSLR age.

Turn your camera mode to aperture priority mode – look for either the ‘A’ or ‘Av’ icon on most camera mode dials – and let the camera select the shutter speed for you based on your selected aperture value. It’s a great mode to shoot in while conducting portrait photography, as nine times out of ten it’ll produce the effect we covered in Tip One of this post… and it’s easy to override if not.

And that leads us onto the what is possibly the best advice you might ever put into practice as a portrait photographer:

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