Portrait Photography Tips

Learn tips for taking portrait photos that will bring out the best in your model, and make you “head and shoulders” above the rest! Improve your photography. Here are some portrait tips on lighting and posing that you won’t find in most books.

Family Portraits

family portrait ideas

As photographers, we all end up photographing our family and friends at one time or another. If you’re finding it tough to come up with original images, then try some of our fun family portrait ideas. Make sure you know how to create professional looking family portraits with these family portrait poses.

Photography Portrait Tips

I’m going to start with a radical suggestion. Throw out (or give away to your competition 😉 ), all your portrait photography textbooks; you know – those ones that are chock full of complicated lighting diagrams that show you where to place the lights and camera relative to the subject. Instead, learn these photography portrait tips that teach you to pose and light your subject according to unique characteristics of the subject’s face.

portrait photography technique
© Larry Monczka

For some innovative tips on good portrait photography technique, check out this article by our special guest writer, Larry Monczka. Larry talks about everything from interactions between subjects to camera techniques like panning and zooming.


children portrait photography
© Barbara Bender

For some portrait photography tips on how to photograph children so the images look “real” and natural, check out this article by another of my regular guest writers, Barbara Bender, on children portrait photography.

Portrait Poses

To start learning our portrait photography tips and methods, read about portrait poses. Here, I talk about how to position the camera according to your subject’s facial features to make the face appear more symmetrical — and thereby more attractive.

Besides knowing which is your subject’s “best side,” when it comes to your shooting angle, you also need to know how to position your subject’s body relative to the camera. Here, I give a few tips on body angle, and relaxed poses.

Portrait Lighting


portrait photography tips
Yum! That chocolate was good!
© Julie Waterhouse Photography

To make good portraits, you need to learn portrait lighting, and how to light your subject in the most flattering way. Again, the best way to light a subject depends on the individual’s unique facial features. Learn the right techniques to use to slim down round faces, fill out narrow ones, and avoid shadows in the wrong places.

Once you understand that the way you pose your subject, and where you place your lights depends on your subject’s individual facial characteristics, then you’re ready to learn about some of the traditional portrait lighting styles — broad, short, butterfly and Rembrandt. You will now be able to select the most flattering of those styles to suit your particular subject. And you’ll be ready to create your own lighting set up!


Next, I recommend you start with the section on photography portrait tips.


Wedding Photography Tips: Here Comes the Guide!

Here, you’ll find wedding photography tips for the photographer, as well as for the bride and groom. Explore everything from the most basic question of whether to accept the job, to checklists to guide both photographer and couple through the Big Day.

wedding photography tips
© Peter Ainley


My friend has asked me to shoot her wedding.  Should I accept?


If you are a professional wedding photographer, you can skip this question.  You have the skills to do the job, and you will make a decision about whether to take the job based on other factors.

Okay! Before we get into a lot of wedding photography tips and checklists, it’s worth asking whether or not you should even shoot the wedding in the first place.

To a non-photographer, photography is photography is photography.  If you love to shoot nature and the outdoors, your friends will assume you can shoot their wedding too.  It ain’t necessarily so!

Before accepting the huge responsibility of shooting a wedding, ask yourself whether you honestly feel you have the necessary skills. If you “mess up,” you can literally ruin someone’s wedding day, nevermind spoiling a perfectly lovely friendship in the process. Also keep in mind that if you are shooting the wedding, you are there in an official capacity, and no longer free to enjoy yourself as a guest.

Wedding photography takes a great deal of technical skill, decent equipment (including backup gear), and stellar interpersonal skills. If you have second thoughts, or doubts about your skills, it’s truly best to politely decline.

Wedding Photography Checklist

For the Photographer

Assuming you’ve decided to proceed with the job, this wedding photography checklist contains a number of useful tips to help the day run smoothly. I talk about everything from communication to contracts.

For the Bride and Groom

Are you planning your wedding? Will you be hiring a photographer? Here is a wedding photography checklist written just for you. It gives you a few things to think about when choosing a photographer, as well as some questions you should be asking during the selection process.

Wedding Photography Shot List

In addition to a set of tips, it can be helpful to have a wedding photography shot list. This list of poses will be useful for both the photographer and the bridal couple. It can be a tool for communication between both of these parties.