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Portrait Photography tips for Beginners
41. Use the correct side of the reflector
5 in 1 reflectors are both cheap and incredibly useful for portrait photography. Still, most photographers buy one and have no idea when to use the different sides. You canread more about what side of the reflector to use, but the basic idea is that the translucent side goes between the sun and the model, the white side is for use in studio or bright light, the silver side is for low light or when you need a lot of light, the black side is to subtract light and cause a shadow, and the gold side is useful for warm shots like sunsets.
42. Don t cheat yourself into thinking that you can make a great portrait without great lighting
Your photo will be no better than the quality of the light if the light is mediocre, do not expect anything more than a mediocre photo. Tip by Deon Odendaal on the Improve Photography Facebook fan page.
43. Be yourself and shoot what you love
I think it is unfortunate when photographers do downright strange things to try and make a creative portrait. Do things that you like. If you re more of a serious type, then shooting traditional portraits in a studio is probably what you ll do best. If you re more fun and flirty, then shooting models in an ice cream shop or jumping on a trampoline will probably produce your best work. Let your photos reflect who you are and what type of photography you are passionate about. Tip by Christine Whelan on the Improve Photography Facebook fan page.
44. Use the right tool for the job
Softboxes, beauty dishes, shoot through umbrellas, and reflective umbrellas all produce different qualities of light. Many photographers simply buy one and think soft light is soft light, but using the right tool for softening your flash actually makes a huge difference in the portrait. Check out this article to learn more.
45. Let that shutter rip to get great expressions
You ll never get the perfect expression if your hand isn t beating the living daylights out of your shutter button. Getting great expressions means taking a lot of photos and trying to stay alert when the perfect moment occurs. Tip from Celicia Steidl on the Improve Photography Facebook fan page.
46. Stop re living your mistakes
This takes discipline, but it will probably help to advance your portrait photography more than all of these other tips combined. After every shoot, instead of just throwing away the shots that don t look good, sit down and study every single one. Photographers have a bad habit of only studying their good shots, but looking at the bad ones and forcing yourself to determine why it doesn t look good can help you to prevent that mistake from happening again. Tip from Levi Moore on our Facebook page.
47. Photos weren t made to be bits
It isn t always convenient to print photos, but I have found that few things help to motivate me than seeing some of my photos printed large on my wall. Make a few prints of your portraits and you ll be more motivated to keep going. Also, it helps you to keep thinking about the picture every time you see it so you can improve it a little bit the next time. Tip from Doug Williams.
48. Keep your model warm
It is summer in the Northern hemisphere, but trying to keep a subject in the cold will backfire 100% of the time. Nobody looks good with frostbitten ears and a red nose. Also, keep a few spare batteries in a pocket because batteries die fast in the winter. Tip from Pat Glass on our Facebook page.
49. Learn the lingo when working with models
When trying to find a model for a shoot, you ll need to learn to speak their language. They are fluent in the language of money, which makes it easy to find a model; however, models also say things like TFP, which means time for prints. If a model says he or she is willing to do a TFP shoot, that means you won t have to pay them, but can compensate them with the photos from the shoot instead. Also, watch out for acronyms like TFCD (basically the same as TFP, but this time they want the digital photos). Oh, and sometimes the model gets really lazy and just says they want to do a TF shoot. You can translate TF in your mind to mean give me the photos and I ll pose for free.
50. Superglue your camera to your hand
Okay, don t. But it will help you to capture photos when you bring your camera everywhere. Sometimes you might find an interesting homeless person on the street to photograph (I actually do this pretty regularly), or an interesting person for street photography. Terasa Lewis submitted this tip on Facebook.
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