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Getting started in Portrait Photography

Updated: Jan 12

Welcome to the world of portrait photography! In my years as a successful Portrait & Headshot Photographer I believe every Photographer needs to be able to take stunning portraits. Whether you are a Headshot Photographer, wedding, engagement, corporate, or even landscape photographer, you will need to photograph a human at one point or another. Having an impressive Portrait portfolio can lead your career or generate additional income and success. If you're just stepping into this fascinating world, fear not—we've got your beginner's guide right here where we will break down the basics.

Finding Your Gear

Before diving into the art of portraiture, equip yourself with a reliable camera and lens. Consider a DSLR or mirrorless camera for versatility, and invest in a prime lens with a wide aperture for that dreamy background blur. You DO NOT have to spend a lot of gear. When starting out I always like to advise photographers to start simple and affordable. Get a camera that you can get comfortable shooting on and make sure it allows you to shoot manual (more on that later) I have compiled a list here of some great started gear.

Lighting Techniques

Lighting is all about control. It can make or break a portrait. Learning how to shape, use, or hide natural light elements is essential for any photographer, and the foundation of lighting. Start with natural light—soft, diffused sunlight during the golden hours (sunrise or just before sunset) works wonders. Experiment with shadows, and as you progress and feel ready, you can start to play with artificial lighting, such as external flashes or continuous lights, to have better control over your scene. You can explore our lighting courses from beginner to advanced here

Get comfortable Photographing people

Establishing a connection with your subject is crucial. Communicate openly, make them feel comfortable, and capture the genuine emotions that unfold. Grab friends, neighbors, kids, and adults to get used to having a subject and talking to people while putting things into practice. You can learn a lot online but you have to pick up the camera and try it out!

Post or Editing

Learn to adjust exposure, contrast, and color balance in camera processing software. Lightroom is a great beginner program to import, adjust, and upload your images. We use Capture One software. (my personal fav) All editing programs are slightly different so use whichever one you feel most comfortable on. There are may tutorials online you can learn up to learn how to use these programs. Don't be afraid to experiment with editing styles, but always strive for a natural and authentic look. The goal is to have your images looking as good as possible strait out of the camera.

Practice, Learn, Repeat

Like any skill, portrait photography improves with practice. Experiment with different styles, settings, and subjects. Learn from your mistakes and fail miserably! The more you shoot, the more you'll refine your technique and develop your unique style.

Portrait photography is an exciting adventure filled with endless possibilities. Get inspired, let your creativity flow, stay curious, and most importantly, enjoy every moment behind the lens.

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