Three Common Mistakes to Avoid in Portrait Photography

When doing portrait photography, don’t make these mistakes!

Looking into improving your portrait photography? In a recent Adorama video, Sony Artisan Miguel Quiles gives a quick rundown of the top three mistakes photographers typically make when shooting portraits, and how you can avoid or correct them. Whether you’re new to portrait photography, or have been practicing for a while, there are always some tips to help you take better photos. In the video tutorial below, Miguel notes the top three mistakes he has found many photographers doing during their portrait sessions. Have you been unknowingly doing them, too?

Not communicating with the model

In the midst of the fixation and worry about the technicalities of a great photo, photographers shouldn’t forget to communicate with the model. It’s a common practice for portrait photographers to talk to their models to keep them at ease and build a good rapport with them. According to Miguel, when you don’t communicate with your models, it’s highly likely they’ll feel something is wrong with how they’re working with you, and you won’t get good, genuine expressions.

Also, this doesn’t necessarily mean sharing technical details with them. Just keep them in the loop on the goal of the shoot, what you believe the photos should look like, how you want them to pose, or what their expressions should be.

Not getting the eyes in focus

An effective portrait doesn’t simply mean getting the whole frame tack-sharp. Cliche as it may be, the eyes are the windows of the soul and where the expressions are most prominent. The eyes usually look soft or out of focus when the center of your frame is on your model’s chest or other parts of the body. For this, Miguel reminds us to use our camera’s features (ie – selective focus) to make sure the eyes are sharply captured.

Not having the eyes looking in the right direction

It’s getting more and more common to see photos where the models aren’t looking straight into the camera. While that’s okay and can create interesting results, there’s one thing to keep in mind so your portraits don’t look weird or awkward. Miguel’s tip is to direct your model to look in the direction of where their nose is pointing. This way, even if they’re not directly facing or looking at the camera, there won’t be too much white space in their eyes.

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