A beautiful portrait is subjective, but ugly ones can be pretty absolute. You and I can have a different opinion is which one is better, but we will most likely have similar taste when something is ugly. The rule of becoming a professional portrait photographer is to know how to avoid those taking that kind of pictures!
These are 5 rules you absolutely want to avoid when working on a portrait photography.
1. Don’t point out their weaknesses
The first rule is to absolutely refrain from pointing out their mistakes. Your models aren’t exactly models all the time. Some of them are newbies and others are simply doing it for fun. They can be pretty nervous and stiff in front of the camera, making them pose in an awkward way.
When your model does stand in a wrong way, demonstrate it yourself. Don’t be shy or reluctant in helping your client to become a better model in front of the camera.
2. Don’t silent the model
If your model has something to say about her pose, listen to it. You never know when ideas can pop up from unpredictable places. This goes the same to when your model isn’t moving the way you wanted her to, whether it’s because she’s nervous or didn’t understand what you mean.
It’s not bad or ugly; you simply didn’t see that one coming before and if you learn to look from a different perspective, it might turn into something great. Talk to your client about it and discuss what they want to see from their portrait.
As a reference, some pictures from portrait photography by www.alanhutchison.co.uk were suggested by his models!
3. Don’t focus on just one dimension
A portrait can be generally divided into three sections: foreground, middle ground, and background. Play with these three aspects and pay attention to them all. Even when you’re blurring out the background, it has to be something that complements the overall picture and the model.
Don’t try to take everything by using bokeh all the time. If sharpness creates a tremendous effect, do it, use it, exploit it. A portrait photography can only become unique and eye-catching when you do something that’s different from others and still gain that amazing look.
4. Don’t just focus on the face
The portrait is all about face, but the look is not everything from a model. Try focusing from a different angle (while shifting the lighting accordingly!) and take a wider look. You never know when the hairstyle of the model can also be used to complement herself.
It’s not the time where portrait can only look good when the face is not obscured by hair or hands. There are various poses that your model can do to emit that personality and uniqueness of hers, even if it means showing only half of their face on the frame.
5. Don’t stick to the same pose all the time
Everyone is different and you can always find a way to show the uniqueness of a certain individual. “If this looks good on her, it’s going to look good on this person, too.” This kind of mindset should be thrown away.
In portrait photography, always aim to work on poses and styles that fit your client. What is significant about this individual? What about him that I can show through these pictures? Your pictures must answer these questions.