9 Essential Portrait Photography Tips for Newbies

Professional photographers may understand the basic concept of basic photography. However, if you are a beginner who wants to delve into portrait photography, it is important to know how to go about it.

This type of photography is much more than knowing how to take random pictures. It is about capturing the soul of the model or object and showing originality.

Here are 9 essential portrait photography tips for beginners that will capture the world’s attention and evoke the feelings and emotions that you want to communicate:

1. Connect with the model

When it comes to portrait photography, photographers should take the time to form a connection with their subject. In order to create this connection, it is important to organize meeting prior to the shoot. This way, both of you can discuss the desired output of the shoot and come up with ways that will better the portrait.
The exchange of ideas will allow you to bring photography to life in the best way. As a photographer, you will also be able to get comfortable with your model’s appearance- a major factor for a successful portrait photography session.

2. Know your camera

While many photographers may take this aspect for granted, the practicality of a camera determines whether you will be to take a good portrait photograph. Take time to find out more about your camera, how it is used and properly utilize all of its benefits. This will certainly bring out the best in your portrait shots.
Phone cameras are not recommended because they are limited in aperture and exposure. They also cannot deliver sharp shots. Beginners should choose cameras that allow for creativity and the delivery of high-resolution images. The right camera should produce wide-angled portraits.

Camera lenses

3. Find the best location

The results of your portrait depend on your environment and lighting situation. When shooting in the outdoors, it is important to find a location where the model will be comfortable.
Consider weather and lighting changes. as the sun constantly changes its direction. On an overcast day, shoot carefully because a heavy blanket of cloud cover can help you enrich your colors and make for smooth pleasing shadows.
It is best to shoot in the outdoors during the morning and late afternoon hours, as this is when the sun is diffused. It is also advisable to have the best lighting equipment when shooting indoors. This is one of the best portrait photography tips for beginners.

4. Focus on the eyes

As they say, a person’s are the window to their soul. They often are the epicenter of any good portrait. They are the special element that defines the face. Therefore, when shooting a portrait, it is important to put a focus on the model’s eyes.
It is important to know that a portrait image can become lifeless when the eyes are too dark or hidden. In order to properly focus on the eyes, ensure that they are well-lit or reflected. Placing an autofocus on the eyes ensures that they are full of life at all times.

Portrait photography tips - focus on the eyes

5. Do not rely on one angle

While it may be challenging for beginner portrait photographers to know all the right shooting angles, it is always advisable to be on the same level with your subject.
This will enable you to easily change angles as you shoot. It is also a good way to make sure that your images have a personal feel to them.
The only way put a special emphasis on facial features is by being up-close with the subject and doing all you can to change angles. Focal points of 50 or 70mm are your ticket to a portrait money shot.

6. Use props

If you are a resourceful shooter, you will never have any creative limits. Beginner portrait photographers should learn how to take charge of the set by using a variety of props that will give them their desired output. Whether it is incorporating car reflectors, flashlights or Styrofoam boards, it is important to do all you can to make your portrait stand out. Apart from the accessories that will complement the model, it is best to also include props in your images in order to give the observer more things to look at. However, ensure that the props are connected to your overall theme.

7. Shoot in the RAW format

The mastery of RAW shoots is the experience that reputable photographers bring to the table. Although as a beginner may take time to learn this, you should be aware that this format is an unmodified compilation of sensors, RAW shots result in better-looking portrait pictures.
When shooting in a format like JPG you will easily lose an important amount of data. As such, a representation of the image that you captured is stripped.
However, RAW format easily allows you to fix the color of the image before retouching. As such, it will be easy to correct over exposed photos, salvage prints and edit out all unattractive blowouts.

8. Focus on simplicity

Many photographers underestimate the power of the simplicity of an image. However, beginners should not. Although there are no limitations to the number of subjects that can appear in a photograph, do not complicate your composition. This will enable you to produce that stunning portrait.
The model should be the center of focus and everything around he or she should only support or complement your theme. Often times, all you really need is a good camera and a model. Do not overdo anything on your photo graphic set, simplicity is key.

9. Pick a single focus point for portraits

The success of your portrait depends on a single point of focus. As a beginner, it is important to learn own to pick an autofocus option without letting the camera to select a focus point.
The camera may do a disservice to your shoot. It randomly chooses focus points by making the best guess through averaging the distance between the points of choice. However, choosing a single focus point as a photographer is one of the most important portrait photography tips.


Every beginner photographer ought to explore their creative potential. These 9 essential portrait photography tips will enable you to understand the rules of taking good portraits. While mastering these techniques may seem challenging at first, over time, you will be able to expand your creative opportunities-especially if your plan to be a professional in the long run.