How to Take the Worst Portraits You’ve Taken in Your Life

Everyone talks about how to take the best portraits ever, but here’s how you can take your worst portraits.

Every photographers takes portraits they don’t like, and these are often your worst portraits. Let’s be honest here: you’re not always going to take your best photos each and every time, but you can always find a way to make your images better just as long as you practice and take notes on how to improve. This is just like any other skill and it doesn’t necessarily just come to you unless you’ve got some weird gift that you don’t understand. But then you won’t always get consistency. So here’s what I’m talking about.

Be Lazy and Don’t Strive to Take Better Photos

Each and every time you go into a shoot of some sort, you should strive to create something not only for your portfolio, but also something you feel is website-worthy. And with this said, I think there is a big difference between Instagram/Facebook and your website. On Instagram, you’ll often post a larger selection of images and post often to keep having your audience engaged with you. On your website, you don’t need to do that. This will be the prime selection of your images.

Oh yeah, and having a website really pushes you to curate only your best work if you make the most of it. Otherwise, don’t bother. To take your worst portraits, just shoot. Don’t strive for excellence.

Don’t Get to Know Someone or Have a Conversation With Them

Portraiture is a collaborative job. You’re working with someone and the ideas come from either you or your subject. Which is it going to be? If you’re simply photographing someone and not interacting with them or telling them about what you’re looking for, then you’re simply capturing a moment. There’s nothing more to it. And to that end, you probably aren’t working with them to make the best of the situation. The examples I like to think about here are these:

  • You wouldn’t use a landscape photographer to shoot a wedding except in rare cases.
  • You wouldn’t use a hammer when you need a screwdriver.
  • You wouldn’t use a fitness model when you need a glamour model necessarily.

So in each of these situations, it’s all about working with someone and interacting with them.

Don’t Have a Creative Vision

What is a creative vision? Let me put it this way: it’s all about creating and using your imagination. Get an idea, get inspired, and create something as original as possible that deviates from your work.

Don’t Interact With Your Subject

This one just needs to be harped on a bit more 🙂

Post and Share All the Images from Your Session and Don’t Pick Only the Best

Again, I’m hammering this into your minds for Instagram and Facebook marketing because you have an algorithm to try to beat. But that’s going to make you strive to only post random images from each session you shoot. But again, there is no good reason for you to do that. You’re not always on your A game each and every time and that’s fine. But you should always try and then pick and choose from only your best.