10 Ways to Take Stunning Portraits

10 Ways to Take Stunning Portraits


10 Tips for Taking Stunning Portraits

How do you take Portraits that have the ‘Wow’ factor?

Today and tomorrow I want to talk about taking Portraits that are a little out of the box. You see it’s all very well and good to have a portrait that follows all the rules – but it hit me as I was surfing on Flickr today that often the most striking portraits are those that break all the rules.

I want to look at some ways to break out of the mold and take striking portraits by breaking (or at least bending) the rules and adding a little randomness into your portrait photography. I’ll share ten of these tips today and a further ten tomorrow (update: you can see the 2nd part here).

1. Alter Your Perspective

Most portraits are taken with the camera at (or around) the eye level of the subject. While this is good common sense – completely changing the angle that you shoot from can give your portrait a real WOW factor.

10 Ways to Take Stunning Portraits

Photo by striatic

Get up high and shoot down on your subject or get as close to the ground as you can and shoot up. Either way you’ll be seeing your subject from an angle that is bound to create interest.

10 Ways to Take Stunning Portraits

Photo by TeeRish

2. Play with Eye Contact

It is amazing how much the direction of your subject’s eyes can impact an image. Most portraits have the subject looking down the lens – something that can create a real sense of connection between a subject and those viewing the image. But there are a couple of other things to try:

A. Looking off camera – have your subject focus their attention on something unseen and outside the field of view of your camera. This can create a feeling of candidness and also create a little intrigue and interest as the viewer of the shot wonders what they are looking at. This intrigue is particularly drawn about when the subject is showing some kind of emotion (ie ‘what’s making them laugh?’ or ‘what is making them look surprised?’). Just be aware that when you have a subject looking out of frame that you can also draw the eye of the viewer of the shot to the edge of the image also – taking them away from the point of interest in your shot – the subject.

10 Ways to Take Stunning Portraits

Photo by monicutza80

B. Looking within the frame – alternatively you could have your subject looking at something (or someone) within the frame. A child looking at a ball, a woman looking at her new baby, a man looking hungrily at a big plate of pasta…. When you give your subject something to look at that is inside the frame you create a second point of interest and a relationship between it and your primary subject. It also helps create ‘story’ within the image.

10 Ways to Take Stunning Portraits

Photo by paulbence

3. Break the Rules of Composition

There are a lot of ‘rules’ out there when it comes to composition and I’ve always had a love hate relationship with them. My theory is that while they are useful to know and employ that they are also useful to know so you can purposely break them – as this can lead to eye catching results.

The Rule of Thirds is one that can be effective to break – placing your subject either dead centre can sometimes create a powerful image – or even creative placement with your subject right on the edge of a shot can sometimes create interesting images.

Another ‘rule’ that we often talk about in portrait photography is to give your subject room to look into. This can work really well – but again, sometimes rules are made to be broken.

10 Ways to Take Stunning Portraits

Photo by Bukutgirl

4. Experiment with Lighting

Another element of randomness that you can introduce to your portraits is the way that you light them. There are almost unlimited possibilities when it comes to using light in portraits.

Side-lighting can create mood, backlighting and silhouetting your subject to hide their features can be powerful.


Photo by Bukutgirl

Using techniques like slow synch flash can create an impressive wow factor.


Photo by diskomethod

5. Move Your Subject Out of their Comfort Zone

I was chatting with a photographer recently who told me about a corporate portrait shoot that he had done with a business man at his home. They’d taken a lot of head and shoulder shots, shots at his desk, shots in front of framed degrees and other ‘corporate’ type images. They had all turned out fairly standard – but there was nothing that really stood out from the crowd.

The photographer and the subject agreed that there were plenty of useable shots but they wanted to create something ‘special’ and out of the box. The photographer suggested they try some ‘jumping’ shots. The subject was a little hesitant at first but stepped out into the uncomfortable zone and dressed in his suit and tie started jumping!

The shots were amazing, surprising and quite funny. The shoot culminated with the subject jumping in his pool for one last image!

While this might all sound a little ‘silly’ the shots ended up being featured in a magazine spread about the subject. It was the series of out of the box images that convinced the magazine he was someone that they’d want to feature.


Image by TeeRish

6. Shoot Candidly

Sometimes posed shots can look somewhat…. posed. Some people don’t look good in a posed environment and so switching to a candid type approach can work.

Photograph your subject at work, with family or doing something that they love. This will put them more at ease and you can end up getting some special shots with them reacting naturally to the situation that they are in. You might even want to grab a longer zoom lens to take you out of their immediate zone and get really paparazzi with them.

I find that this can particularly work when photographing children.


Photo by phitar

7. Introduce a Prop

Add a prop of some kind into your shots and you create another point of interest that can enhance your shot.

Yes you might run the risk of taking too much focus away from your main subject but you could also really add a sense of story and place to the image that takes it in a new direction and gives the person you’re photographing an extra layer of depth that they wouldn’t have had without the prop.


Photo by Mrs. Maze

8. Focus Upon One Body Part – Get Close Up

Get a lens with a long focal length attached to your camera – or get right in close so that you can just photograph a part of your subject. Photographing a person’s hands, eyes, mouth or even just their lower body… can leave a lot to the imagination of the viewer of an image.

Sometimes it’s what is left out of an image that says more than what is included.

portrait-close up.jpg

Photo by Bukutgirl

9. Obscure Part of your Subject

A variation on the idea of zooming in on one part of the body is to obscure parts of your portrait subject’s face or body. You can do this with clothing, objects, their hands or just by framing part of them out of the image.

Doing this means that you leave a little to the imagination of the image’s viewer but also focus their attention on parts of your subject that you want them to be focused upon.


Photo by BigBlonde

10. Take a Series of Shots

Switch your camera into ‘burst’ or ‘continuous shooting’ mode and fire off more than one shot at a time.

In doing this you create a series of images that could be presented together instead of just one static image.

This technique can work very well when you’re photographing children – or really any active subject that is changing their position or pose in quick succession.

portrait-continuous shooting.jpg

Image by diyosa

10 More ways to Take Great Portraits – Continued Tomorrow

Tomorrow I will complete this mini-series of posts on portrait photography with 10 more techniques like the ones above. Make sure you’re subscribed to Digital Photography School to ensure you get the second half!

Update: You can read the 2nd half of this series at 10 More Tips for Stunning Portrait Photography. Also check out What the Mona Lisa Can Teach You About Taking Great Portraits for a portraits tutorial with a difference.

Also – don’t forget the portrait section of our forum – an ideal place to discuss portrait photography and show off some of your work.


Read more from our category

Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • kaycee August 5, 2013 07:40 pm

    thing is i use a nokia c1 symbian phone so really i get low quality images but i still try adding these tips and i get some gud results.. i need a good smartphone or a good digital camera as soon as possible.

  • Lightworks Photography July 16, 2013 11:42 pm

    Great post. I particularly like the getting out of your comfort zone tip and the image of the jumping on the bed. I think one of the great take away points is that there is really no right or wrong - there are rules and guidelines but mostly it's a case of letting the creativity flow to get great results!

  • Tom July 4, 2013 05:33 am

    I have to say, the information you provide on this website is top quality. I now get your newsletters and am always pleased with the articles- they're extremely helpful and straightforward. Your webiste is a real gem for photographers.

  • Studio Vimukthi June 19, 2013 07:19 pm

    one of the best ways to to take portraits. This is a great share for us at our team at Studio Vimukthi. Thanks.

  • Verlene June 16, 2013 07:44 pm

    I do not drop a comment, however I looked at a ton of remarks on 10 Ways to Take Stunning Portraits.
    I do have 2 questions for you if it's allright. Could it be only me or does it appear like some of the responses look as if they are written by brain dead visitors? :-P And, if you are writing on additional online sites, I'd like to follow
    anything fresh you have to post. Would you list of every one of all your shared sites like your Facebook page, twitter
    feed, or linkedin profile?

  • Bob Owen June 6, 2013 10:36 am

    yes! change of perspective and eye contact. That does it for me, thank you!

  • Ciaran Lee Photography June 6, 2013 06:54 am

    I've just come across this. A great starting point for anyone new to portraiture, and a few nice reminders for those of us who have been at it for longer.

  • Jim B June 6, 2013 05:24 am

    Great tips and examples!

  • Dave Greaves May 31, 2013 03:32 am

    People go on about better camera and lens, when taking time to learn and see is far more important.
    Great tip for photographers.
    Thanks for sharing.

    lake district wedding photographer

  • Lorenzo Photography May 13, 2013 07:25 pm

    Brilliant sound advice! Some of it comes naturally but occasionally I need to be reminded! My favourite is candid but I think I might experiment more with slow synch.

  • Jessica Plott May 13, 2013 03:13 pm

    great bunch of tips! really enjoyed reading things that another photographer does, it really makes you think! thanks, so glad I found your site!

  • David Weightman May 9, 2013 03:08 am

    Such a useful article, great for amateur photographers and professional alike. I would add that we should always take the time to get to know a bit about the person we're photographing. A little bit of research goes a long way to developing a concept that really says something genuine about the sitter.

  • Rahul April 24, 2013 04:31 am

    Great :)

  • Hitesh patel April 23, 2013 11:29 pm

    Great article & Great tips,thank you for sharing! , Your thoughts,new photographers ,Short but very helpful.

  • Chris Renton April 8, 2013 09:40 pm

    Excellent article - changing your perspective can really make a positive difference to a portrait.

  • solomon April 3, 2013 10:47 am

    these tips and pictures are very helpful im tryin to start shooting pictures on the side for some extra money and i think these will work great thanks alot . jus gave me some great ideas for taking picuters

  • Ian Baker Photography March 31, 2013 11:43 pm

    Great article, thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas. Even better pictures! :)

  • Michael March 18, 2013 05:57 pm

    Fantastic tips for photographers of all levels.

  • Kent wedding photographer David Burke March 8, 2013 06:16 am

    Great shots and ideas - love 8 & 9!!

  • Sean Gannon March 7, 2013 09:52 pm

    Great selection of tips. The more we can get photographers out of just shooting at their eyeline, the better!

  • Kristian Leven March 6, 2013 01:28 am

    Very insightful article and great shots, thanks for sharing.

  • Jozef Povazan February 19, 2013 02:52 pm

    Short but very helpful comparison for creating nice portraits. These technique are an excellent practice lessons for starting photographers. I teach photo workshops and portraits are usually the most discussed themes there. Thank you. JP

  • Jack Olsen February 15, 2013 08:12 pm

    Hi, fellow photographers.
    I have been taking photos since i was 8/9 and I'm now 15, I have some experience, I also create banners, make websites, program applications and software in Jython/Python/C# and C++. Just for a trial period I am producing free testers of the above

  • LENOCE December 11, 2012 04:55 pm

    Great info and images! I be sure to forward this to the new photographers who are always asking me for advice!

  • Dennis November 6, 2012 03:39 am

    I purchased this software and downloaded it but it won't let me use it until I put the code in, I don't have the code and I have been trying all day to get some help with it but has proved to be impossible to get support, could anyone help m,e to obtain some support or any idea where I can get the code from, can't phone and no replies to emails

  • Chitra Sivasankar Arunagiri November 4, 2012 03:47 pm

    Cool Shots and awesome points. I especially love the last one, the series of shots example!!! cuteness overload!!!

  • Dan Losowski October 13, 2012 01:26 am

    Great tips, thank you for sharing! I try and get creative with portraits as it stands already, I hope to impliment a few more of these techniques to take it to the next level!

  • Lee Kotoveke October 8, 2012 04:37 pm

    I have been taking photos just looking at pictures and photos in the books and magazines. And now with the tips and all other information that I can gather, I believe there are some beautiful Land scape and Local Portrates that I can take and share with the forum and improve my shots. Thank you

  • Akash Saikia October 6, 2012 02:40 pm

    These are some of the coolest and amazing tips for a novice like me, thanks :)

  • Irene Kotov September 27, 2012 11:26 am

    Hey Darren!

    I didn't know that you're behind this excellent website and Problogger! I've been an avid follower of both, but only just connected the dots.

    Anyway, great article because it goes beyond the usual "how to take better photos" advice that you see around.


  • stuart September 14, 2012 09:20 pm

    Great tips, portrait photography is one of the beautiful photography which can easily attracts one towards it.

  • pokkisam September 3, 2012 10:29 pm

    Using this tips I collected a 30 most beautiful Female Portraits Ever http://blog.pokkisam.com/content/female-portraits-showcase-extravaganza

  • A J Swailes August 28, 2012 10:45 pm

    Good information, I love to break all the rules in photography, some good comments too.

  • ccting August 24, 2012 11:02 am

    I don't think the 3rd photo is breaking the rule...

  • Tim Driver August 17, 2012 05:16 am

    A really well written and generally informative article, I particularly liked the picture of the girl with the blue shroud - Stunning Eyes

  • James L Dekker July 28, 2012 06:50 am

    Great information, thanks for sharing. I think it is so important to 'market' portrait photography to the general market out there because I think people in general pay far too little attention to it and their lives go by and that of their children and family photographs are forgotten.

  • Barry Perhamsky July 10, 2012 02:14 am

    The first question is: Why do people want a portrait in the first place? If they have a camera, can't they take their own pictures? But then people say, the pictures won't come out as good!

    Let's say you have a young family; a son 10, a girl 7 or 8, and a tottler 2 or 3. The parents are in their mid thirties. The family is active; they like to go camping, go bike riding, etc. A true professional can make a portrait that is not just a picture taken in front of a background, but a photograph that tells a story. A beautiful photo that is interesting to look at and tells a story. So when the kids are parents themselves, they can show their kids the picture...this is when i was your age.

    I like photography, but I also like the pictures: Ansel Adams, Margret Burk White, Joe Rosenthal, Dorthea Lang, Arbrie Bodine, etc. Imagine looking at a photograph at a place in your hometown you visit or pass by all the time. Except it was taken in the 1910 or 20's. Cars, horse and wagons,etc. all from that period.

    So when you grasp photography, it's not just a $43,000 digital camera with a host of lenses and lights, it's your understanding and what you wish to do. The first film slr camera I had was a Canon AT-! match needel. I had total control over everything. If I was going to photograph fast action, I would meter on my palm, set the camera , and take the shots. I like both digital and film. I like everything about photography.

  • Taunton Wedding Photographer May 12, 2012 01:07 am

    Great info! Will be using this for next photography shoot. Thanks.

  • Xelf April 21, 2012 04:54 am


  • Xelf April 21, 2012 04:53 am

    Great tips, I will learn as much as i can from this.

    Here is one shot.

  • Andy Holland April 9, 2012 12:19 am

    I was really pleased to come across this article, it contains some simple but effective ideas to create better portraits and surely this is what we are all looking for. I like the Black and White rule of thirds, i dont normally get in that close but produces some interesting results.

  • Gitta Barth March 24, 2012 01:34 pm

    Thanks for the tips, especially the "jumping" one. Needed some ideas to doo my first portraits

  • Jasmine March 18, 2012 01:47 pm

    hi! i just got a GE X500 for my birthday. im trying to practice some phtotgraphy to develop a hobby. what can i do to take pictures of my sister jumping on our trampoline mid-air.

  • Christian March 15, 2012 09:23 am


    These are some great tips. I find that when I have subjects in the studio that are a little nervous, I make then stand on one foot. Eventually they need to use part of their brain for balance and it loosens them up and give a more natural expression. It's a funny trick, but it totally works.

    How to take pictures

  • Yucel March 13, 2012 06:18 am

    Great list... what kind of cookie was used how in the side lit pic?

  • Erik March 3, 2012 11:18 am

    Great tips! I love the different perspectives

  • Wendy Roob March 3, 2012 07:44 am

    I Love the scope of this article! Matter of fact I am going to print it out and carry it with me on some photographic assignments as a great reminder of all the different photographic looks that are possible for even the SAME subject!!

    Thank you for writing such a great article! This one adds a lot of value to my work day!!

  • Ingrid Abraham March 2, 2012 11:30 pm

    Lots of food for thought - thank you!

  • J January 28, 2012 05:28 am


    i am interested in finding out some info. I wanted to know why when I take pictures of myself I am able to catch the look of who I am as a person and when someone else takes a picture of my I look 9 times the size? I am not a big person by any means but when I go to professional photographers the pictures come out horrible and I feel horrible for going when I get the results back. The only pictures that I find I look good in done by a professional are candidate. where there is non-stop clicking. I would be interested in discussing this further via my email address because I would like to send you too pictures 1 done by me and the 1 done by professional photographer and either of them have been retouched.


  • tanmay January 25, 2012 04:34 pm

    its really very helpful................we can say "ATTITUDE OF PHOTOGRAPHY" :) ;)

    THANKS :* <3

  • Wedding Photographer January 19, 2012 08:23 am

    Photographers spend so much money trying to buy the perfect lighting to take portraits; however, nothing compares with the beautiful of natural light. I try to use natural light for studio http://www.diegomolinaphoto.com to enhance portraits and create soft shadows.

  • raiyan enchaviz January 18, 2012 06:26 pm

    Cool Photos... Though, They shouldn't be photoshop since they were captured in the very stilled moment. Love them just like ankle boots from Make Me Chic - The sky really is the limit when it comes to the number of outfits you can pair them with...see more ankle boots at http://www.makemechic.com/c-85-ankle.aspx

  • Elijah January 5, 2012 03:36 am

    Photography is one of the few ways a person can tell a visual story. It allows humans to create accurate imagery of the world around them. You can create beautiful imagery no matter what equipment you have or even where you are the world. Photography allows us to share our views of the Earth and capture deep emotions and beauty. Who knows it may be a masterpiece. Right?

  • Kevin Woolsey December 31, 2011 04:58 am

    To get children in a natural setting is wonderful. Lighting can be reallly tricky. You have to know your camera.

  • Daniel December 22, 2011 05:46 am

    Great tips.Thanks for sharing :)

  • Richard Martin December 21, 2011 04:09 am

    I love the way that picture 8 seems to tell a story but without showing even a face. It leaves the viewer to think about the woman in red.

  • Hayden Zier December 9, 2011 01:15 am

    great tips! Cant wait to try them out! :)

  • Rena C December 2, 2011 02:01 pm

    Great Tips, I'm gonna use these tips to spice up my beauty blog with some nice photos.

  • Mallory November 29, 2011 06:24 am

    Thank you! You have helped me immensely!!

  • Myrealfun November 28, 2011 08:52 am

    This is just wonderful, I really like the theme of your blog and the stuff here is really very informative.

  • Myrealfun November 28, 2011 08:51 am

    This is just wonderful, I really like the theme of your blog and the stuff here is really very informative.  Download  Movies,Songs,Games,Blogger Templates & much more.

  • Divine Images November 18, 2011 07:58 am

    I want to commend you for the write up, its really good whenever you want to make statement with your shots by way of exprimenting e.g making light pattern to fall on your subject. I really feel that part. Thank you. DIC, Nigeria.

  • Mark Berg November 17, 2011 01:46 pm

    What are the best Nikon lenses for wedding photography?

  • Colchester Wedding Photographer November 15, 2011 09:14 pm

    Brilliant article I love the references to different angles especially the low angle shot. Many thanks

    Essex Wedding Photography

  • Mark Berg November 14, 2011 06:56 pm

    Thank you for sharing your Photo to us, I hope you can share also Wedding Photography....

  • lil kid November 12, 2011 12:35 pm

    i really reacommend number 6, i took some amazing shots of my friend maia playing on a swing, she way i captured her soaring was reallt cool

  • Summer October 29, 2011 06:31 am

    How do you take a photo that is soft and glowy?

  • Vivika Brasil October 24, 2011 02:08 pm

    Great tips and ideas.
    My favorites would have to be using natural light and candid children portraits.
    I find myself using most of these on this list every time I do a photo shoot.

  • tambungau October 24, 2011 01:58 pm

    thanks for the tips..im an amateur photographer..

  • Ivo October 23, 2011 07:02 am

    Because I'm still an amateur, I think most of my best photos are made by chance - location, time, sunlight, perspective, position ,etc. I don't have the time to walk around with my tripod and search for the best spot or the best time. I just try to get the maximum of the situation - sometimes it works really good. And sometimes, even if I follow all the lessons and knowledge I gathered , I just get some photos which are not catching the eye.

  • Oscar Lira October 21, 2011 07:38 am

    Excellents tips

  • Wrap October 10, 2011 05:18 am

    The only problem is that I do not find such models or such faces to take a shoot. All I see is "gray", or in hurry . You must have the "moment" to see the beautiful of the object or the beautiful of the man in front of you.

  • Laura September 17, 2011 04:25 am

    Those were REALLY good tips!

  • Patrick Peritore September 16, 2011 07:01 am

    Darren, great tips and excellent blog. A question: close up portraits shows every blemish on a woman's skin, and if you process the image it looks plastic or obvious. Short of a $10,00 a day model how do you solve this problem?

  • Green Screen Photography September 8, 2011 10:27 pm

    The pictures were all great and thank you for sharing this with us. I liked the picture supporting the fourth point and the last picture of a little girl playing with a doll. All the ten points were really good and useful for the beginners in the field of photography.

  • yoann Le biez July 19, 2011 03:52 pm

    I like it. Rules are important to give a basis for creativity. I could give another tip: Over exposed totally your subject (+9) until to put the eyes in wow position. Double advantage: "clean" the model Skin without makeup and to have a eighties shoot fashion. (sorry about my english, I'm French)
    Continue to take picture all of you. Photography is like running you need to run if you want to arrive to your goal.

  • kraanthii July 3, 2011 03:14 pm

    great shots from different angles.............i liked it all

  • Efrain July 2, 2011 10:44 am

    Hello Darren, I subscribe to your website because I was looking for some help. I'm new to photography although I love it, I always love taking pictures with point and shoot cameras, Now I made an upgrade to a real camera, and I love it, I have made some investments for a small at home studio, I love to self thought but I have come to something new and that's how I found your site witch I find Very helpful and exciting. I have across a frustrating problem; no matter what I do with the lighting my pictures looks to average, plain, and honestly I don't like them, they're very good shoots but to plain, I got an umbrella and a soft box, tripod , background, and a canon 7d, am missing something, I have tried different lighting settings, little light, medium light, full light, and try different settings with the camera, auto, CA, P, Tv, Av, M, B. changing the iso, aperture, lense speed's, but I cant get the right colors or that wow shoot. Can you help me with any suggestions? Thank you, I will keep checking with your daily updates in my email. Thank you so much.

  • Jennifer - Sacramento Wedding Photography June 29, 2011 07:24 am

    Wonderful advice, great tips! I've used a few of these on occasion and you are right, they work sometimes and definitely keep things interesting!

  • serack preston June 28, 2011 06:43 pm

    It is very exceptional post. Got to see more.

    by Internet Marketing,

  • Peter June 28, 2011 11:36 am

    Great post Darren.

    Inspirational thoughts and ideas. Love these portraits.

  • sharon mallinson June 22, 2011 05:32 pm

    Really inspiring - great post!

  • Brianna June 16, 2011 07:34 am

    I love your tips! I especially love the tip about using the "burst" setting. I'v been longing to have a new banner image for a few websites of mine,and this technique will work perfectly.Thanks so much for sharing!!

  • Chris May 29, 2011 10:34 am

    Thks 4 the tips. I'm a newbie and you provided me with a lot of great ideas. Thanks!


  • photoideas May 27, 2011 08:46 am

    Your tip on perspective and angle of the shot is a great tip! All of the tips listed are great for any photographer to use.

  • Russell May 4, 2011 06:10 am

    This post was an unexpected pleasure to find. Thanks for this excellent collection of great portraits!

  • Vancouver Photographer May 2, 2011 05:16 am

    Very helpful tips. I will be back for more.


  • the Ninja April 20, 2011 08:08 am

    Very nice and useful. Lots of great ideas.

  • essay writing April 19, 2011 07:01 pm

    Well that's superb article! This is very informative blog there is nice information, valuable and excellent design, as share good stuff with good ideas and concepts.keep share more ideas.Thank you for sharing

  • AB Web Design April 8, 2011 09:06 am

    Great tips, I like the tip 7 it made my pictures much more interesting.

  • Timothy Eberly April 7, 2011 07:25 am

    Good tips. Every good rule is a good rule to break if done well.

  • Willy Wonka March 19, 2011 11:57 pm

    I love photographs of people jumping. Is it better to use a digital camera or a camera with interchangeable lenses?

  • Azzie Wiens March 19, 2011 12:32 pm

    Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I'm impressed! Very useful info specifically the last part :) I care for such info much. I was seeking this certain information for a very long time. Thank you and good luck.

  • Catherine February 25, 2011 01:48 pm

    I take a photography class, once a week, for about eight-nine weeks running. It's really cool and this has given me a lot of inspiration for furthur shots. I love looking at other people's photos, not only has inspiration but because it shows what that person has learnt, knows, and feels. How they position the props and model is amazing, while sometimes crazy. Thanks.

  • canli alem February 14, 2011 05:31 am

    This is a interesting line of content, very nice article. Thanks for. sharing this post, good way of bring this subject to discussion. Keep up the great work !

  • Jonathan Owen January 31, 2011 05:20 pm

    The implied figure can be very interesting and tell you a huge amount about the subject without them actually being in the frame. This can create a sense of mystery or a wider narrative and leave plenty to the viewer's imagination. It can also feel a little voyeuristic which can complement or jar with the context. I am thinking of personal effects that speak of the subject - clothing, musical instruments, make-up discarded items etc etc

  • Mar January 28, 2011 05:36 am

    One needs to consider the implications of some of these techniques though, for example: the tip to obscure part of your subject in some way...the frame will always be intresting if that's your goal. What is in the frame will always reffer to aspects of todays world and culture, it cannot be helped as the work is made in this day and age. The implications of the girl whereing a scarf around her face and head in such a manner make a direct reference to religious practices and cultures with similar conditions of human expression. Thats not a bad thing, but intrest from an audience also comes from the resolution the photographer makes in his or her work. So unless you are trying to make such a reference, one could simply make a pretty image that says absolutely nothing pertaining to the subject, and therefore extra and useless information is added that doesnt help build into the overall context of the work.

  • saquianrxt January 26, 2011 06:13 pm

    those photos are amazing, but I am looking for colored photos, like stunning red from contrasting blue. can you make an article to that one? I'll be waiting.

  • Jef Menguin January 19, 2011 02:12 pm

    I am now inspired to buy a level entry dslr. I love your tips. I love more the shots.

    Congratulations Darren.

  • Bulah Graubard January 19, 2011 07:05 am

    Awesome website you got here, I can definitely apply the content here into my life.

  • Beauty Portrait January 7, 2011 10:13 pm

    One good tip for creating beauty portraits with real impact, include the skills of a professional make-up artist for a flawless look. They can help a lot with defining lips and bringing out eyes and they may consider time for prints if your work is outstanding and creative.
    By using a slow shutter and a powerful torch creates real visual impact when used as a spotlight.

  • Lydia January 7, 2011 08:55 pm

    Thanks for all the great, useful suggestions.
    & beautiful photos, as well.
    I especially love the suggestion to move your subject out of their comfort zone.
    This really does make photos wonderful. You're forced to react naturally.

  • Ruth December 23, 2010 04:46 am

    i found this website extremely dry and boring you could add a little animation and a more colorful background the photos are obviously retouched and show no flaws this is degrading to other people!!! also it was way to wordy i don't want to read a whole paragraph make it short sweet and to the point!

  • Iran Picture Gallery December 18, 2010 04:14 pm

    Inspiring post. I learned a lot from it. I particularly found the section called "Experiment with Lighting". It's very useful for me taking pictures of the monuments and architectural masterpieces of the past. This style is very effective for taking photo of inscriptions (calligraphy". I love it.

    Rahman Mehraby
    Destination Iran Travel & Tours

  • Salman Aslam December 7, 2010 05:03 pm

    Amazing tips i loved the women wearing high ankle boots and the bubble gum one the most. Very useful tips for beginners as it is important to be creative and try different angles :)

  • Natalya Brownell November 24, 2010 07:41 am


  • louise November 22, 2010 06:42 am

    love the tips and photographs especially eyes , lighting one.
    check out my portraits and website guys and comment on my blog page or via home page :D


  • Andrew November 2, 2010 11:49 pm

    These are some great tips but I question how we should keep the camera steady for such candid type shots as these pictures are extremely clear, i've never been able to keep the camera steady enough for shots with such immediacy.

  • Bettye October 31, 2010 01:50 pm

    This will be my second time taking christmas photos for my family, for which I love to do it a hobby that I would love to continue once I retire. With that being said I am so glad that I found your site it provide me with answer to alot of question I have had. I wanted to make this photoshoot the best ever . So I have purchase the backdrops (xam's), ect. as well as lighting 3 different kinds with the umbella to difuss the lighting because they are gold,sliver inside the umbella. I have the christmas light that hang straight down. so my hope is to hang them in the window so that it appears like snow falling from the sky. But I want to make sure about where to place the lights. If someone could provide me with some christmas idea I would be so happy.

  • Essex Photographer October 29, 2010 10:47 am

    Some great tips and words of advice. I think having a relaxed subject is one of the most important things.

  • St Louis Wedding Photographer October 29, 2010 03:32 am

    These are some good suggestions to try out after you've gotten the "required" shots. As with anything, you'll probably have to experiment with these a while before you get the hang of it. For example, shooting from different angles is great, but shooting from below is going to add weight to your subject, so that may not end up being the best angle for some people.

  • daniel October 19, 2010 01:05 am

    nice photoes

  • Ken Sharp October 9, 2010 01:55 am

    As a professional photographer that specialises in portraits of children I have to say that I am very impressed with the tips on here about portraiture (and the quality of the site overall).
    Keep up the good work as I'm sure that you are helping to raise awareness of good image making.

  • ian southward October 8, 2010 08:13 pm

    Supurb. I am now thinking of diversifying into other types of photography since gettting the emails from this site. its wonderful. I want to do portraits and I want to do wildlife and aviation, and I just dont know which to concentrate on, the different articles have given me insight to different ways to do my hobby and how to and its the how to that confuses me as I read them over and over... Help! maybe I can upgrade my camera from a Nikon d60 to a higher grade camera, I need to go through the archives to find how to get the best from my camera

  • JasonG Photographer October 7, 2010 11:50 pm

    Great post!!

  • Photojournalistic wedding photography October 7, 2010 06:23 pm

    Nice tips, i like very much the photo exemple in black and white!

  • Joe Mamma October 5, 2010 04:20 am

    sounds awesome I cant wait go go out with my new kodak disposable!! =D

  • Life Photography, Pickering October 2, 2010 05:07 am

    I love the 'Alter your perspective' idea. Instantly makes a difference to shots!

  • Life Photography, Pickering October 2, 2010 05:06 am

    I love the 'Alter your perspective' idea. Instantly makes a difference to shots!

  • Guess the Lighting September 9, 2010 01:08 pm

    Great tips (and reminders) for beginners to old pros.


  • Melinda B. August 18, 2010 08:06 am

    These were some great tips, I absolutely hate posed photographs, and I love that there are many more creative ways to go around posing!

  • Pedro Mendes August 17, 2010 11:24 pm

    Great tips. Thank you for that and for an excellent site as a whole. I have already profited from it and will continue to do so I'm sure.

  • iPhotoShot August 13, 2010 06:17 pm

    A nice trip portrait. Often I find new techniques, and the site you give it to me.


  • Samantha Wright July 23, 2010 05:15 am

    Awesome images and article, love them all particularly the one by bukutgirl of the red dress really striking. Thanks for posting.

  • Stephanie July 16, 2010 03:27 pm

    I keep coming back to this and just wanted to drop a comment that this is a good page to scan before you go out for a family event - keeps you thinking about fresh ways to document family life (and applies to the not-so-serious-photographer)! Thanks again.

  • Trentacoste July 7, 2010 07:55 am

    cool picsxxx

  • Erick @ Best of Wedding Photography July 7, 2010 03:10 am

    Great post as usual Darren. I've just been browsing several of your portrait articles. They are all great and I can see why you decided to release the portrait book. Of course, there are all kinds of lighting and post processing issues that have made the photos above what they are. A good photo is a total package. But, still, kudos for making such powerful tips sound so simple.

    Wedding Photographer - Italy

  • Sacramento Wedding Photographers June 18, 2010 02:22 pm

    Awesome article, thanks for posting. I particulary like the first item, playing with perspective - especially with ultra wide angle lens.

  • Dawn Willis June 12, 2010 11:57 am

    Great comments, but can you supply an article on how to take a nice portrait of someone who is not at all comfortable having photos done, but they are required?

  • Dawn Willis June 12, 2010 11:55 am

    I have a Canon EOS camera and absolutely love it, but after about twelve months just to get used to it, I am ready to get serious in producing something different in all aspects of photography. Some things in this article I have tried, but will now work on, some I like but I would be very cautious on photographing the lower body as it may offend some, so I would actually refrain from this. I particularly like eyes though as the eyes 'speak' on their own. It is all in the end, personal taste of course, and you cannot please everyone! I will be on holidays soon to try out some of your suggestions. Together with my friend who had the same camera we will combine with the telephoto lens for the candid shots, etc. I do have a question though. It is: There are times I need to definitely get a head and shoulders photo of a person who really hates having their photo taken in any circumstance. Is there any technique which could make this a more comfortable process while still obtaining a good clear image of the person involved? Maybe this could be a topic of a future article by you. I am really keen to see your feedback on this subject.


  • Abby May 7, 2010 07:52 am

    Wow.!(: amazing, thank you.

  • Kevin Mullins May 7, 2010 06:52 am

    Great article - like the idea of focusing on different parts of the body and the low perspective.

  • Jim Martin April 12, 2010 10:47 pm

    Great tips and wonderful photos. I'm working on this area of my photography now and will incorporate your ideas into my next session! Thanks!

  • Stewart Smith April 7, 2010 06:03 pm

    Nice article - I'll have to make sure that I pop a link to this on our blog...

  • aditya April 5, 2010 10:53 pm

    it really have that WOW factor..

  • Doris Hullett April 5, 2010 02:21 pm

    Hi Darren,
    I enjoyed this blog post. It makes me want to grab my camera & experiment!
    Thanks for the tips!
    Doris Hullett

  • Nando Tampubolon April 2, 2010 02:09 am

    Thanks for the advices..I've done tips 'break the rules of composition'...some of my friends say I kind like a stupid when compositioning object different from what object should be taken..but thanks with this tip I can get back my confident..just like you said..sometimes the rule made to be broken

    I'm curious of tips no 9 and 10. I never did this before..I think I'm gonna do it for my next taking..

    Once again,,thanks

  • Edward Madux March 29, 2010 11:53 am

    WOW. WOW. WOW.

    I just recently found some subjects to take some shots of, and I have honestly been putting some heat on myself in regards to making sure that i come up with with something good- even though im a beginner!

    When I saw the first pic i almost fell off my chair! omg! They are just all so good. the tips are amazing.

    I literally just bought the canon 1.8 50mm...and im dying to see what i can do with it. just awesome stuff.

    congrats on one of the best posts ive ever seen on a blog. EVER.

  • Denver Photographers March 17, 2010 02:38 pm

    Great post and tips. Very helpful. -Dave Z.

  • David Hardwick Photography March 2, 2010 08:17 am

    Brilliant work. Thank you very much for the ideas. I just hope that I can get results as good as the examples.

  • David Hardwick March 2, 2010 08:15 am

    Brilliant work. Thank you for the ideas. I just hope that I can get results as good as the examples.

  • Todd Eddy February 26, 2010 01:51 am

    With all of one photo shoot under my belt one thing I carried over from when I take walk-around pictures of people. Always take more than one picture in some pose. The model I had was pretty much in auto-pilot mode for posing and had to instruct her to not immediately change pose after I take the picture. Got a few more pictures this way since a couple times she may have been in mid-blink or in one there was a guy that walked by in the background.

  • Farnoosh January 30, 2010 11:27 am

    I am supposed to be studying my 31 DBBB and you point here to this List post and I am distracted thinking about photography now.......Oh I loved and use some of these tips and for the rest, I can't wait to try them. THANK YOU!!! Ok back to studying :)!!!

  • Letaief January 22, 2010 08:20 am

    Wonderful article..I've read it a long time ago and I used some of the tips mentioned here..here is one of the resulting portraits :

    Thank you :)

  • Itsashirt T shirts January 13, 2010 07:02 pm

    It's all in the light! Great photographs, thnx for sharing...

  • Worcestershire Wedding Photographer January 9, 2010 04:31 am

    I have been spending a lot of time on the site today, and wow, what great information and examples.



  • Emma January 3, 2010 07:59 pm

    Just going through your rules - two of my favourite photos of my daughters feature rules mentioned here.

  • Christopher December 21, 2009 06:36 am

    Awesome tips for any photographers, professional or not. Love the image for the "Introduce a Prop" tip! Thank you for sharing!

  • Chicago Mattress Store December 18, 2009 06:40 am

    This is a great reminder to me of the basics of portraits. My wife was just mentioning to me that i never take good portraits of her anymore. I'm going to grab my 35mm and make her look beautiful this weekend.

  • original art on canvas December 16, 2009 09:53 pm

    Wow exceptional tips and ideas too, will try some of these out soon, thanks for sharing. I really love the photography work by Bukutgirl they're awesome.

  • Swiss JHG Photo December 16, 2009 06:23 am

    Very good tips for starting portraiture photography.

  • Fort Myers Wedding Photographer December 13, 2009 11:44 am

    Great tips. I love to lay down and take full body portraits, This really makes me want to try to shoot from above my subjects.

  • Suffolk Photographer December 9, 2009 07:27 pm

    There are some great images in here, and also so not so great.

    The candid shot I think is pretty weak compared to the bubble gum one.

    Another thing I learnt at photoschool was to sometimes invade the subjects personal space - force an interaction with them and it will add to your images.


  • Sanja Hamelink Portretfotografie November 27, 2009 10:41 pm

    What a good post. I'm a photographer from holland I just graduated from the Fotovakschool. Great tips for a beginner.

  • feald November 26, 2009 01:30 am

    Thank you , just bought my new cam , should experiment it ...

  • Vivek Bekal November 18, 2009 04:50 am

    Great tips, and evidence of what an excellent brain -eye coordinated effort can produce. Irrespective of the sophistication of modern camera, our natural lens still hold sway which is what makes photography such a passionate indulgence.

  • Sandy November 17, 2009 07:56 am

    Thanks for this article! I tried changing angles as recommended in this article and the one on photographing children, and I got the best picture of my infant son that I have ever produced!!

    @shannon hartley - try adjusting your white balance settings. I had the same problem, and by adjusting while balance and shooting in RAW, then using PhotoShop to manually adjust the white balance settings even more, I was able to completely remove the yellow effect of shooting indoors with no natural light or flash.

  • bonnie November 16, 2009 10:37 pm

    Tx for all these tips. I love them. I am just getting into the idea of buying lighting for portrait stuff. I set up a black back drop in an unused room I have and was just practicing. It's fun but I do love the results of "out of the box shooting" Anyway can you tell me why when set my camera to continuous shooting, it will take a few and then it stops and says "busy" I can't get more than 3 at a time. So frustrating. I have a Rebel xti Canon. Tx

  • Patt November 14, 2009 05:27 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing so much great information! For beginners like me your site is like a wonderful gift!

  • pham tien dung November 11, 2009 12:00 am

    Thanks for your Tips. I 'm a beginer in photoghraphy but i love it.

  • singh November 10, 2009 04:10 pm

    its great treasure for newly lover of photography

  • sharon November 3, 2009 05:02 pm

    thanks darren! got great insights for making a WOW portrait. I do love portrait photography, and for an amateur like me this tips are really eye openers. can't wait for the next tips.

  • Essex Wedding Photography November 3, 2009 08:12 am

    really great post - some ideas to try out this winter as I have been running into a creative block at time this summer - thanks for the inspiration - Some great pictures as well


  • K..A.S.H October 31, 2009 05:49 am

    Very helpful tips. I will be back for more.

  • texassky October 29, 2009 12:25 am

    thank you for the helpful tips! I especially like the idea of corporate portraits that are out of the box! No one likes a stuffed shirt. I have a 3 year old and the only way I can take a great portrait of her is when she is in her natural element. Toys, playground, activities etc can bring compelling shots. Thanks again for the helpful tips![img]

  • randymac October 24, 2009 01:45 am

    Absolutely awesome. Thanks for the ideas/tips. It moved me outta my photographer's block!

  • shannon hartley October 22, 2009 07:06 pm

    how do I prevent that horrible yellowy color when I take portraits in a gym?

  • randal01 October 21, 2009 02:22 am

    Great gallery of portraits. There is one of portrait ive made, a little diffrent than all of portraits in gellery>
    Feel free to comment on my photo

  • The Baldchemist October 20, 2009 01:18 am

    Thanks so much for the reminders. I was thinking about wendy's comment about getting a new camera. I remember buying a pair of Pele football boots thinking I would make the English national team....... and to an extent making pictures is similar. You must have skill, a great eye and know what happens with the millions of light, shutter, iso combinatons irrespective of camera.

    I was on an assignment this weekend shooting three business women in Gothenburg Sweden. Fabulous light, mid afternoon autumn. Two of them were easy the third took about two hours to unwind but after 4 fun filled hours I finally got 4 fabulous shots of the 3 and 5 or 6 individuals. Ditched about 150. Thanks for digital. Film would have been bloody expensive.
    So not only does it take skill with the camera and the right conditions but some personal skills also.
    So once again many thanks for this. i look forward to viewing part 2.
    Take good care and get as much joy as you can every day.

  • PEG October 19, 2009 06:44 pm

    I found this article very useful, my favorite is to experiment with lighting, I think its the element that can dramatically effect the look and feel of the image. There's a great article on lighting technique and shows how this image was created:


    Technically it's for someone who is familiar with on camera flash, but the key principles apply to anyone.

  • Sharron October 13, 2009 09:53 am

    These tips were such a big help...i wanted to try everything at once, but my fav tip is havin the subject look out at something, i think i did ok for a beginner, thanks

  • Suman October 13, 2009 06:41 am

    The tips provided here are really helpful. They help to broaden vision while looking at different objects. Besides, they also reveal the secret that 'everything' is a potential object hence nothing can be missed!

  • Nikita October 13, 2009 02:39 am

    Thanks for this excellent article! Puts things in perspective! Literally!
    And now I comletely realise why some of my shots come out better than the other!

  • Emmett Hume October 5, 2009 11:44 pm

    Darren - thanks a bunch for these great tips and examples. Now I will charge ahead!

    Really appreciate your tips and ideas. VERY helpful.


  • Vipul Dand October 5, 2009 07:01 pm

    seeing the photographs, reminds me where I make mistakes while I do clicking. Thanks. This improves my photography.

  • James October 2, 2009 05:17 am

    I've learned some interesting things looking at these series of photos and tips. I've also niticed that I have been using some of these tips, but haven't realized it. I think I'm getting better, but don't necessarily know the techniques by name or action, I just seem to know what I want in a photo.

  • david October 1, 2009 11:12 pm

    very nice tips. Thank you!

  • Gunnar Engblom September 28, 2009 10:57 am

    Stunning photos and great tips. Have to work a bit on my portraits that is for sure.

  • Gerald M. Gaspar September 16, 2009 01:18 am

    Thanks for the great tips on portrait photography. Im just starting to go back in photography and your site helps me a lot. I hope people could give great tips on how they took their great shots. Thanks a lot again!

  • VIJAY CHOUDHARI September 15, 2009 03:39 am

    Rules are rules but then wonderful composition is made possible by deviating from the rules.

  • Thorsten September 11, 2009 05:18 am

    Mate, this is good work - I loved your 'change of perspective' advice: so damn easy and yet effective. Also, the zebra-picture made me rush to the camera to try it our immediately.... Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • Chrissie September 11, 2009 12:31 am

    Thank you so much for the wonderful ideas! Simple and usable :-)

  • Roslyn Slater September 7, 2009 07:39 am

    Thanks so much for your helpful tips. It really helps. I also love having them online.

  • Hadi Irwein September 3, 2009 08:09 pm

    Great site, simple yet straight to the gut.
    Thank you again for sharing..

  • sweetpeatoad September 1, 2009 11:59 pm

    Wow! This is inspiring.

    On the other hand, i seriously need to work on my skills and learn how to use photoshop to improve my photos. Is there a tutorial for that? :)

    Anyway, thanks for sharing. I love you website. It's one of my daily bread.

  • Ashley Adams : Postcard Printing August 26, 2009 12:25 am

    Wow! I am glad to have found out such an amazing tutorial on how to take stunning photos.. I have always faced a problem with the lighting part of it but with the help of this tutorial I can overcome that problem.. Thanks for sharing this information.. I really cannot wait to try these out.. Brilliant and useful tips..

  • Durga Nandan August 22, 2009 04:22 pm

    Wow! I tried using some of them.. And got amazing results. Gonna use the rest too. :)
    Thanks a lot!

  • Milimo Hanyoolo August 21, 2009 05:59 am

    I think your suggestions to break some of the rules is quite exciting! I actually am just starting out with my photography and have very little knowledge on the standard rules to taking portraits. This will will help me have less fear as i learn to use the rules and break them at the same time...!!

  • Hrish August 20, 2009 09:24 pm

    Can all these shots be taken from a regular camera (e.g Nikon P 80) - I don't own an SLR yet...but plan to..
    Excellent tips can't wait to try them out

  • upiks August 19, 2009 02:03 pm

    Oh I am late to read those tips, because yesterday i took picture at carnaval. Many interesting objects on photograph, but actulally I did not well. I have learn more photograph.

  • John.D August 6, 2009 07:34 am

    I saw the Annie Liebowitz retrospective exhibition in Brooklyn a few years ago (and have since bought the book). In the exhibition she had two adjacent portraits - one of Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf, the other of Gen. Colin Powell - both in their full dress uniforms at the height of their military careers.

    Gen. Schwartzkopf was totally 100% front+centre. Gen. Powell had his shoulders slightly swivelled. What their poses did was make their generations, personalities and command styles immediately obvious.

    Two very powerful portraits.


  • Nathan Trujillo August 3, 2009 07:29 am

    Excellent tips ! Love them all. Thannks for the tips and love your work Darren.

  • Rose Douglas July 29, 2009 11:01 pm

    Thx 4 the tips!! Really great pics. Do you have this in a printable format so one can file them and keep on record?

  • Digital Picture Zone July 28, 2009 08:05 pm

    these all are really very interesting tips and seem very helpful, they also seem to work. Portrait photography is about shooting person, not the picture. it should be natural and full of life.ill try these tips..thanks,nice post!

  • L N Roychoudhury July 27, 2009 03:35 pm

    Nothing works better than backing up advice with examples. You have made it to the points superbly

  • glurt July 21, 2009 07:25 am

    Thanks ! I will try to do it !

  • Landscape Photography July 18, 2009 12:10 pm

    Really like the perspective on the first shot, quite unusual.... I guess thats why it stands out. Although as sean said it's a pity about the glasses, the reflection and the way they intersect the eye.

  • mobile phone July 17, 2009 12:56 am

    Wow, great tips. I will be using these when i take portraits.

    Read more: https://digital-photography-school.com/10-ways-to-take-stunning-portraits#ixzz0LWsKGdSP

  • Surbhit Dixit July 15, 2009 07:14 pm

    tips are great .............but i don't really care about any rules...............just keep playing with your instrument and do not ever hesitate to check any angle.............for example "Key hole shot"

    anyways, you guys are really doing great job and this must be helping Photography Mad Boys n Gals a lot

    cheers to you

  • prasenjit1986 July 13, 2009 08:58 pm


    Awesome tips you give out to amateurs.I started out photography and absolutely love macro photography.Thanks to you,I can do it now.

  • ipsul June 27, 2009 05:21 am

    I'm a real beginner. It's really useful and helpful to me.

  • Biggest Cat June 21, 2009 07:05 am

    Amazing tips . I would love to use this tips in my canon A550 ..will it work?

  • ilike2flash June 18, 2009 02:01 am

    Wow, great tips. I will be using these when i take portraits.

  • dotcompals June 15, 2009 11:31 pm

    Nice and useful stuff. Can't wait to get to my DSLR to try out some of the above tips. Thanks Darren. Retweeted.

  • Kuba June 13, 2009 12:41 am

    Fascinating. Great tips!!!

  • Shriya June 12, 2009 06:53 am

    Wow, a lot to learn from here. Especially for a beginner like me, example pictures go a long way in understanding the concepts. I really enjoyed it.

  • Jeanne Ward June 9, 2009 06:33 am

    I've enjoyed your site. I started using the continuous shooting mode a while back. I find it really useful with children who are generally out of the picture before you can snap the photo. I really enjoy your weekly tips.

  • Jyoti June 6, 2009 04:42 pm

    Thanks for the tips. They were amazing. And most of them made so much of sense.


  • irilys June 6, 2009 08:47 am

    Preparing for my very first portrait photoshoot tomorrow, I came across these tips. Very helpful and great source of inspiration. Thank you.

  • Lee A June 2, 2009 02:26 am

    Education - regardless of how given is encouraged. However, in this instance, I would suggest if these lessons were given by video rather than in written form, it would be quicker, more efficient, as well as, more meaningful.

    Nonetheless, thank you very much!


  • hnawelhik May 31, 2009 01:04 am

    How do you take Portraits whith celurar phone i am interesting khanks

  • Morgan May 29, 2009 03:45 pm

    Thank for the tips, i enjoyed the inspiration. Neat

  • obama - president May 27, 2009 07:01 pm

    Follow the link at the end to the second set of 10.

  • trust lands May 19, 2009 08:27 am

    Nice blog on photography techniques. Thanks!

  • Denise May 18, 2009 02:28 am

    Your tips are amazing. I just found your links and I'm have a great time snapping away.

  • Lentziu May 9, 2009 10:13 pm

    great tips. great website :) It's very usefull for a rookie like me :D Thank you

  • Beth May 9, 2009 08:33 am

    You're awesome! I'm learning more from you than I did when I took photography classes. Everything about photography sound so technical. I have a hard time remembering functions because it can be so confusing. Thank you for designing your site so people like me can understand.

  • isabel May 7, 2009 12:21 pm


  • isabel May 7, 2009 02:59 am

    if i want to do portrait what lens you recommend the 50mm 1.8 or the 50mm 1.4

  • Jen Ruhman May 6, 2009 02:25 am

    This just proves, anyone can be a photographer. If there really are "rules" these 10 ways broke them! :)
    I'm sure this will help a lot of people to go out and buy a camera and play.

  • kristine April 24, 2009 11:00 am

    thanks a lot for all these tips... it's really helpful

  • Imtiaz Taqi April 23, 2009 04:41 am

    I really learn a lot from your tips and after implementing more than a lot ! :-)

  • ndroo April 17, 2009 02:12 pm

    Great! The photos are superb and the ideas are inspiring.

  • lora April 16, 2009 01:50 am

    Wow, I really love this blog - such amazing ideas! Does anyone have and suggestions specifically for more music/fashion subjects?
    I found some interviews of photographers talking about how they got into the industry - so interesting:

  • Mustafa Sazak April 9, 2009 04:27 am

    Precious ideas, really. I am using 50mm f1.8 Nikkor lens for portrait photos. Occasionaly, I use 18-135. But the f stop makes the photos darker, otherwise, I have to use a tripod.

  • chris markopoulos April 7, 2009 03:44 pm

    GREAT ideas!!!!!!!!! i can't WAIT to try them out with my 35 mm SLR....ive done some trick photography by placing my subjects a t different angles & distances from one another, & now i want very much to try your "out of the box" ideas . THANK YOU so much & have a great day!!! Chris

  • Beth Ann Effler April 7, 2009 01:47 pm

    Awesome tips. I'm trying to learn how to take better photographs of my children. Your tips were VERY helpful and I like the examples you gave as well.

  • Norm Espinosa April 7, 2009 07:38 am

    I really enjoyed this article and the photo examples. I'm always looking for ways to improve my photos and even though I've experimented with some of the ideas presented it's always instructive to see someone else's execution of the same idea.

    Looking forward to the next installment.


  • Laura Tolchinsky April 7, 2009 06:14 am

    One of the best tools that I have used in my business that makes my indoor wedding photos look like they were taken in a studio, is the Gary Fong whale tale. It bounces the light off the ceiling & eliminates those annoying shadows, red eye, & distributes the light evenly.

  • Laura Tolchinsky April 7, 2009 06:09 am

    I have been taking photos out of the box for about 20 years. What has changed the face of photography is that now most of the "top photographers" (the ones sponsered by Kodak, Fuji, Professional Photographers of America, etc.) all now are making photos using Photoshop, Corel Painter, Mystic Tone & Tint, & similar programs. I have entered most the competitions out there shooting with the out the box idea, & about the closet I ever was recognized was an honerable mention from the International Photography Awards, being mentioned in the Trienberg Competition, & having my photos printed in the Annual Fotoforums magazine contest book along with the other top 5% percent of winners. Whoppeee! And then they wanted $60.00 for the book. Personally, from my experience, it does not matter how much you shoot out of the box & are different, unless you know someone in the business that recognizes your work, those competitions that charge upwards of $60.00 to enter, will not get you anywhere. The entry fee for the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) competitions can cost sometimes $125.00. I knew a guy, who belonged to the PPA, who spent thousands of dollars in membership & competition fees to work up to obtaining the covented master certified photographer rating. He finally gave up when the people judging him would not award him that rating after he spent $1000.00 in time & materials preparing the required 20" by 30" print. Shooting out of the box is good if you are in business for yourself because it will get you work. It has for me. But if you want national recognition, that is an entirely different animal.

  • Soy Candles April 4, 2009 04:04 am

    Here's another tip. Don't use flash usual natural light or candles!

  • Deb V. April 2, 2009 03:57 am

    Hi, I was told today that I needed to center s shot and it annoyed me as I had played with the cropping tool and following the perspective of a path in the pic, I liked the people in the shot, off center. Thanks for this article as I still believe how I off centered the people created interest to take your eye down the path. :) Thanks for this article! deb V.

  • Kevin Wong March 29, 2009 03:35 pm

    Thanks for the tips. Great tips.....when it come to portraits, I am blank. !!

  • Avadhesh Parashar March 28, 2009 09:41 pm

    Thanks for nice tips

  • J.A.M March 26, 2009 03:42 pm

    Thanks so much for this site. Am an oldie and newbie, like all that I see. Thanks for this Dig. Phot. School.

  • Stephane March 17, 2009 11:36 am

    Very good article... great tips!

    Most of the time we get use to what we know and we forget to think out side the box to create more cretive pictures. Articles like this one make us more aware of this.

  • ashraf ezzat March 15, 2009 01:36 am

    i realized that i follow most of those tips .. without studying them..but learning them will help you keeping them at the back of your mind...and in that way you,ll be able to express your creativity .
    either by following those rules ..or by simply breaking them..and it all depends on your mood and objective while taking a portrait shot.

  • Rookie23 March 13, 2009 09:06 pm

    Wow! I had never been so amazed at such many pictures! I like the last picture best! Its funny! ^^

  • Curtis Copeland March 12, 2009 01:38 am

    Great insight! Thanks for these useful hints. They are very practical and creative.


  • Javy March 11, 2009 02:58 am

    I think your right Naphtali, I would say #8 needs a a bit more in the image unless now your talking about a advertisement and the focus is the cig, I wouldn't even say the dress is the main focus though the colors are nice but when you first look at the image its the cig in the hand that catches your eye. I can see a cig ad for this image.

  • Adam Loewen March 10, 2009 01:00 pm

    Its true, some of this stuff is pretty basic, but there's nothing wrong with the basics. They are the foundation that facilitates the possibility of a great shot. I think this stuff is great. Its simple, well lit, and interesting.

  • chaitanya krishnan March 9, 2009 07:14 pm

    nice! like the simplicity of these tips!

  • Danira Von K March 9, 2009 04:24 pm

    Is this something new? I'm surprised people are surprised by this. Whats even funnier is that if you go on myspace, silly myspace kids have pretty awesome photo's like this but people on a photography website are enlightened by it. definitely odd, but i LOVE the sequence photo of the little girl, shes way precious.

  • Naphtali Visser March 9, 2009 12:11 pm

    These are all interesting photos, but I think that some of the images really don't make great portraits.

    For example, in #1, we really have no idea of what this woman is about. The high camera position would have worked really well i she were surrounded by a bunch of work materials that somehow related to each other and showed her deeply engrossed in her work.

    In #8, we don't know anything about this woman -- there is no context. If she were a prostitute and you could somehow tell that by something else in the image, this would make a better portrait. But as it is, it just looks like a candid photo of a random person.

  • Mark March 9, 2009 10:51 am

    a good photographer never blames his tools, those of you that have >.<

  • javy March 6, 2009 09:31 am

    Great tips, just remember some shots from up above at a wide angle can distort a person making them look vertically challenged, to be politically correct.
    -I remember in the university I attended my teacher never gave us positive reinforcement, however we tried to look at things from a different perspective the photography issues that we had with this teacher was the following, everything we did was wrong, we had beautiful composition beautiful contrasts and details of different shades and it was wrong. Therefore you ask yourself? what is photography? whats right and whats wrong? I've seen books with portraits that if my teacher saw them she would had kick them out of the class and their books are selling in stores. These photographers are famous, so my point being is, what you think is wrong could be a million dollar shot in someone else's eyes. And could also be a million dollar shot to a fortune 500 company.

  • Mei-Ling March 5, 2009 05:57 am

    I am so much enjoying all of the articles I've read here! Loving your tips and the examples on each theme.

  • KC H. March 5, 2009 05:12 am

    These tips are awesome and they work so good for the class I am taking,

  • Aubrey M March 3, 2009 11:54 pm

    I'll use some of these great tips in my next Make Up class. last week, I tried shooting my model after makeup class and the results I got just did not do any justice tot he look I achieved/ trying to present.

  • hkdigit March 3, 2009 10:51 pm

    Great tips. Learn much from it. Thanks!

  • GL March 3, 2009 09:35 pm

    Just got done taking some off angle shots with a beautiful russian girl named Katya. Please check it out if you can.


  • Catherine March 3, 2009 08:57 pm

    Great article and really useful tips. Thanks!

  • Darren Rowse March 3, 2009 08:32 am

    Agos - yes that would be ok. Please link back to this page with your credit link - if you could make the link the title of this page (in English) that'd be appreciated.


  • Agos Beatle March 3, 2009 03:32 am

    Hi Darren!
    I'm Agos, Translations Coordinator for http://noticias.deviantart.com, a web that publishes news in Spanish. One of our translators have passed your excellent article into Spanish.
    I want to ask you the permission to post it in our journal and blog in WordPress. Of course, all credits will be given, as usually.
    Hope to hear from you,

  • Adrian February 27, 2009 07:51 am

    Hi I'm still a novice at this delightful art of photography. There have been some really helpful ideas that I've just seen. I joined a local Photography club about Sept 08. Next week we are doing Portraits, so I'll be milling over the examples above for ideas and inspiration ready for next week.
    Thanks so much for the wonderful ideas that you pass on. From a very grateful reader. Adrian

  • Tina Voorhis February 24, 2009 12:07 am

    Wow these tips are really going to help me take super photos!

  • Sajimon P. February 21, 2009 09:36 pm

    some of the above are novel ideas and are very useful.

  • jeng February 14, 2009 08:07 pm

    thanks very much for the tips. am just a newbie and these tips help a lot! Mabuhay!

  • Fizz February 8, 2009 03:45 pm

    Nice. Out of the box with interest. Its harder than it you make it look. Great tips.

  • DarkneZz February 7, 2009 02:46 pm

    Excellent tips... I always have problem thinking what to do for make my portraits different

  • Mohamed February 6, 2009 12:08 pm

    Darren, thanks a lot. I'm a noob here but have been enjoying and learning quite a lot. :)

  • tonyoquias February 5, 2009 10:29 pm

    Thanks for these little gems. Great tips for beginners; great reminder for everyone, including me :-)

  • Lara February 5, 2009 10:56 am

    I'm currently doing a portraiture assignment in my year 12 class for photography. This will work wonders!

  • Shane February 5, 2009 12:18 am

    Excellent tips - My problem is getting subjects to agree to taking shots.

  • Tony January 27, 2009 02:18 pm

    Hi Darren,
    Great to receive your excellent weekly mail, packed with useful, creative ideas and practical advice (that a good promo for you?!)
    Great minds think alike as I just produced my first, humble attempt at a regular e-zine with the same subject. I shall point my readers tho this FAR SUPERIOR website where they can continue their learning for real.

  • Lorenzo January 27, 2009 07:26 am

    I definitely do agree with almost all that you said in this post! First of all, great sample photos! The "eye-contact" point is one of my favourite, I really love to get pics of people I know (or not) without having they're eyes in the camera.. I do believe I can get better photos when they're looking at something that pleases, scares, etc them.

  • Tbior January 26, 2009 10:52 pm

    I think it's a good article to make people think why they're taking photos. Because, IMO, the first thing you need to consider is your concept. Your why. The rest is coming only after that.
    Jan Vermeer, a painter of the old, pre digital era, painted amazing pictures playing with light and shadow with his brush in a way that only masters could do. I wrote about him here. Any photographer of today can learn from him.

  • rod fermin January 22, 2009 09:52 pm

    great tips & cues from a photomaster! thanks a lot.

  • Allan January 17, 2009 01:25 pm

    Great tips Daryn. I often use props, long lenses, different shooting angles etc, but never think of using tip 8. I'll have to use that one in future.

  • Ken chooi January 14, 2009 05:46 am

    This is a helpful information to me. Thanks a lot and hope I can learn photography from this website.

  • Ahmed Hobaran January 2, 2009 10:02 pm

    Can you provide some more details on this?

  • Darkspore January 1, 2009 02:08 pm

    This is great advice that I have been looking around for. Thanks a million!

  • Pat January 1, 2009 06:16 am

    Great article.

    Another thing to try is shoot wide open for separation. Shooting at f/2.8 or wider with prime lens can seperate subject from background. Also with close-up the eyes can be pin sharp but skin soft focus - smoothing out any skin imperfections.

  • Patrick December 24, 2008 05:15 am

    Seeing as there`s a lot of "out of the box" discussion, could I break the rule of peace and harmony and tell you all that your photography rules suck?

    Oh, of course if I did that I`d totally be wrong because they are good and just what I need. I`m about to purchase my very first Digital SLR camera and am planning on spending a little over my budget because its something I want to grow into...not something that will just get replaced when I realise that going for the cheaper option was the wrong option.

    I`m hoping to take my new cooking blog a little futher than just your sub-standard point and click photos. I want something that will make people go wow, hense why I signed up for DPS.

    Keep`em comming Darren and Co.

  • Joyce December 21, 2008 03:22 am

    " After looking at those I need to work on my skills. Either that or I need a new camera."

    Skill is everything, the camera is very little. I've taken amazing photos with a throw away camera.

  • Gretta December 16, 2008 10:03 am

    OMG fabulous tips and stunning photos I have a lot to learn thank you.

  • Garris December 7, 2008 11:05 am

    Great tips :]

    I'd just like to point out that the reference photo used in the "break the rules of composition" tip does not actually break the rule of thirds.

  • Rose December 5, 2008 12:29 pm

    I just got a new camera today. It's a huge upgrade for me although not an SLR, but I found where I can do something like the repeat frames of the little girl. I'm invited to a party this weekend and will have opportunity to try out several of your tips.
    So thank you - I'm thrilled to have some great visual and live input from others. Doesn't matter whether they liked your tips or not - I will try them all:) Rose

  • kyles December 4, 2008 10:50 am

    Thanks so much for these tips... now i have something to work on while i play with my new camera :-)

  • Millard December 2, 2008 07:11 am

    I will certainly bookmark this for future use. You have opened my eyes to a whole new range of thought and inspiration.

  • Oliver November 30, 2008 05:45 am

    This morning I happened to try no. 10 on my kids and the result was great.

  • Tea November 29, 2008 09:01 am

    Great tips!!! Have tried a couple myself and I agree about breaking the rules makes outstanding results =) I break the rules on perspectives and experiment on lighting a lot because I tend to get easily bored with the same ways a lot of pictures are taken althought they always turn out really good. Glad to learn more from these tips too =) Muchas gracias!!!

  • Katrina November 29, 2008 07:49 am

    This was a another great article. However, it would have been great to have some other tips about lighting. Such as apeture settings and so forth.

  • Mattress November 22, 2008 02:58 am

    Great tips, they will sure come in handy for me. I am so happy to have stumbled across this site.

  • Rajan November 18, 2008 04:51 pm

    Really great tips,thanks for sharing.It will definitely help me.

  • Sylvia Carcich November 12, 2008 09:07 am

    Very good ideas. I would just like to add a suggstion, and that is the use of ambient light. Some have made the point that the flash on your camera is junk and I agree, learn how to turn it off and try taking pictures with available light, both indoors and out.

  • Kristen November 10, 2008 04:01 pm

    These are all great tips. Thanks for sharing. Everyone needs some tips of the trade, we cant always go around reading photo magazines, they get pricey after a while. I really love the photo by monicutza80. But the again I am a huge fan of black and whites.

  • John Andersen November 10, 2008 04:13 am

    I really appreciate the tips that you give. I've always been adverse to 'posed' shots, eg. when hiking on a trail, I get the hikers from the rear going up a hill, mountain, etc.
    Thanks, again


  • Reesy November 6, 2008 03:38 am

    Great tips - I'm entranced by #3.

  • Joanne S. November 1, 2008 02:34 am

    Great ideas here, thanks for sharing with us. I will definitely put these ideas to use in the future. Thanks again.

  • Master Hater October 25, 2008 05:48 pm

    Great tips. For someone who uses videos almost exclusively, photography is twice as challenging because a single moment has to be captured.

  • rick October 25, 2008 09:37 am

    The "break good composition rules" does not have good example pictures. The first one does not look great, the second one follows good composition rules. Two thirds of the picture is the girl, one third is not.

  • ilovephotoblogs October 24, 2008 12:15 am

    Great tips. Thinking outside the box when it comes to composition and lighting are the keys to interesting photography. Love the examples you chose!

  • vkeong October 23, 2008 01:29 pm

    Thanks for the tips, I am starting to venture into portraiture photography and I plan to implement your tips in this coming weekend's photo session with my friend. can't wait to experiment!

  • Gaurav Kumar October 23, 2008 06:34 am

    can someone comment on my photos? I just want to get some feedback on what should I improve?

  • lori October 16, 2008 11:30 pm

    thankyou for your great tips im going to try them when taking picture of people

  • Uranela September 16, 2008 10:33 pm

    Great tips I am looking for that kind of tutorijals, and I want to work with this kind of photography How can I sand you some last photos that I took they are portrait photos and I would like you to coment them I would be wery greatful
    Thank you

  • Gabriel September 9, 2008 07:52 pm

    The first picture didn't strike me as beatiful as first but upon inspection, the light off the spectacles gave her a literal glint in the eye and coupled with the innocuous grin and the book on psychopathy, the picture exuded brilliance.

  • aruna August 31, 2008 08:33 pm

    excellent tips....
    a beginner like me can ask for nothing more than this....

  • Coleen August 29, 2008 02:01 am

    Thanks for this article. I forwarded it to a fellow photographer friend. It gave me some great new ideas to try out! There is one tip that I would add. On the point of eye contact, for me, its very helpful to remember that there are 4 different points of eye contact and that a great session will include them all; subject to camera, subject to off camera, subject to subject and subject to object. When you photograph people, keeping a goal of achieving all 4 gives you great ideas for variety in posing and helps your portraits tell a story.


  • Courtney August 28, 2008 01:59 am

    freakin sweet pics!

  • prat August 27, 2008 02:00 pm

    Very interesting and effective techniques..!! I am always looking for an eccentric POV to take pictures, especially portraits.

    I particularly like the "jump" shot (out of the box thinking) and highlighting a part of body, leaving the rest to the imagination of your audience.

    Thank you for sharing.

  • Christian August 24, 2008 05:17 am

    Nice tut, sometimes even if we learn photography on school and rules of composition, with the time we make always the same kinds of shots and ends with no proposition.

  • BobGreenie August 17, 2008 09:18 am

    As I reflect on my earlier years in photography I can agree with this content - for example in earlier years I would stand on the highest point and take a grand view of the whole, now I am more likely to find the small and vital components that make the whole. It's changed my whole thinking in the process.

  • Clive August 17, 2008 08:50 am

    Fantastic tips for us not quite professionals. I am mostly into landscapes, but after reading your tips I think I will venture into the world of portraits as well. Thank you

  • C August 13, 2008 06:04 am

    I love the pictures taken by diyosa. The little girl is a wonderful little, active subject.

  • Laura Starr August 8, 2008 01:25 am

    This is an awsome site. ROCK ON!

  • photographik August 7, 2008 10:35 am

    Love these suggestions! They all make sense after your read them but somehow having them all listed really drives home the basic point: Change up your approach a bit and experiment. Bravo!

  • Brenda August 6, 2008 01:37 pm

    I am just starting out and these are excellent tips. I am going to use these tips for better, interesting pictures. Thank you!

  • Bob Dale August 4, 2008 12:10 pm

    Number 3 is a fantastic example of breaking the rules of composition. Only one subject to look at, great use of empty space and unusual placement of the face. Usually the face would be on the right side; we read from left to right and it feels more calming to the eye. And I like the face where it is. Nice job.

    Bob Dale
    Master Photographer

  • FYQue August 3, 2008 11:19 pm

    really cool tips.
    i like that..

  • Geoff Beattie August 1, 2008 06:58 pm

    Great tips Darren!, even for a seasoned pro!,
    Its always good to be on the learning curve, and move away from your comfort zone to be inspired with new and fresh ideas...

  • tina August 1, 2008 03:40 am

    great stuff! these tips are really useful, thanks very much!

  • Hawaii Photographer July 29, 2008 05:20 pm

    I just stumbled on this tonight and it's fantastic. Great tips and an even better bookmark:)

  • pognyc July 29, 2008 11:41 am

    thanks for the tips, great ideas!

  • Internet Marketing July 29, 2008 06:30 am

    Amazing tips -- and beautiful photographs! Wonderful post -- I'll be sure to share this article!

  • JeffP July 29, 2008 05:11 am

    I'm gonna take some shots of my wife when she comes home from work. You know the ones where she jumps into the pool. Thanks for the idea

  • web designer July 27, 2008 02:15 pm

    Thank you for writing such a beautiful article on portraiture. I've been a photographer for 10 years and I learned a couple new things today. I can't wait to try your tips.

  • GEORGE FOSTER July 27, 2008 12:44 pm


  • Javy July 27, 2008 09:02 am

    I agree about rules being broken, every photographer has an opinion, I've seen some photographers books in Barnes and Nobles and the composition would be considered horrible if you were in school taking a course. But because this photographer was famous it was ok and acceptable to publish ODD compositions in his photographs.

  • BlueSunGal July 27, 2008 06:48 am

    The first one doesnt intrigue me so much but I am excited to try the rest of the lot.

  • Rory July 27, 2008 06:42 am

    Really great ideas here. Excited to try the lot.

  • Center Parted July 27, 2008 03:23 am

    WOW, simple tips with great examples. Really good stuff. Thanks!

  • Mike101 July 24, 2008 08:01 pm

    nice article with great samples. these techniques help a lot with no need of a decent camera.

  • Tuttilicious July 22, 2008 02:14 pm


  • Tuttilicious July 22, 2008 02:13 pm

    ow can i favorite u?

  • Tuttilicious July 22, 2008 02:12 pm

    Your pics are so pretty *-*

  • Pieter July 22, 2008 11:35 am

    To Dan,
    Yes the empty space is very important. That is a classic oriental philosophy as well. Beethoven also mentioned that the silences in music are as dramatic and important as the music. He was a master at timing the perfect pause. The Chinese and Japanese use empty areas in a painting to a fine degree. They would say an empty space has actual "weight" and must be framed or balanced correctly with smaller but darker objects in the field. Westerners often need to fill every tiny area with something so as to not waste space. LOL...

  • Robert Augustin July 22, 2008 05:21 am

    Great post. I fully agree that 'rules' can be broken successfully. I would call it the nature of the creative business to do so, considering that sticking out is a preferred objective.

  • Dan July 20, 2008 08:33 am

    Love that line in number 8 "Sometimes it’s what is left out of an image that says more than what is included."
    It is so true. Some of the most powerful portraits I have seen do just that. Focus in on a personality revealing detail to tell the whole story. U close and personal.

  • Pieter July 18, 2008 02:03 am

    These are all terrific tips. Nothing a creative eye would not have tried eventually but let's get it over with. Just don't get carried away with these naughty rule-breakers though because the standard portrait done well is still a winner. It is important to master the classic methods and use these for occasions you want to confuse or annoy the teacher. You will either be applauded or failed in shame. Are you a gambler in your finals? Make it good or have a alternative old fashioned one handy.
    CAUTION: I have no idea what I'm talking about. Good luck!

  • Rob July 16, 2008 11:26 am

    Nice Tips. I personally hate rules, who decided whats a great photo and what is not?

  • John July 14, 2008 03:13 pm

    Rule 10 has yielded amazing results for me and has enabled my wife to use our Digital SLR to capture some amazing moments such as the first time my son tried to eat dirt (Look at dirt, put dirt in mouth, spit dirt out).

    Sounds insane but framed its a precious memory.

    Get a big memory card, enable rapid fire and hold the trigger. Its a blunt instrument but can do great things.

  • James July 13, 2008 01:51 pm

    I saw the Annie Liebowitz retrospective exhibition in Brooklyn a few years ago (and have since bought the book). In the exhibition she had two adjacent portraits - one of Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf, the other of Gen. Colin Powell - both in their full dress uniforms at the height of their military careers.

    Gen. Schwartzkopf was totally 100% front+centre. Gen. Powell had his shoulders slightly swivelled. What their poses did was make their generations, personalities and command styles immediately obvious.

    Two very powerful portraits.

    Then on the opposite wall was a portrait of the 1st George W. Bush cabinet with Condoleeza Rice almost as the locus, right next to a group photo of Michael Moore's film crew from "Fahrenheit 9/11". Again, a very powerful pair of photographs exhibiting the traits of each group.

  • Jurgen July 13, 2008 07:46 am

    great tips and stunning portraits! Cheers

  • Yannis July 13, 2008 06:20 am

    Great tips...beautiful pics

  • Dianna A. July 13, 2008 04:20 am

    Thanks so much for the tips.

  • Gerry V July 12, 2008 05:30 am

    Thanks for the tips

  • Jocelyn July 12, 2008 02:44 am

    Thanks for the tips. Always great to try new things!

  • kck July 12, 2008 01:26 am

    I thought it was really good gentle ons to the basic to pop pictures. Thanks I now more pictures to take

  • Nilesh July 11, 2008 02:09 pm

    I really like the interesting tips. Keep it up! Herre are some of my portrait images.


  • David July 11, 2008 12:38 pm

    Thanks for the tips, I have tried some of these and the photos turned out great. It is hard for me to direct people so taking candid looking shots really work for me.

  • Frank July 11, 2008 10:24 am


    I would actually tend to agree more with the poster above. Most of this tips and representative photos are truly great portraits. The first one, however, is really pretty bad save the unique perspective.

  • Sarah July 11, 2008 09:50 am

    These are great, thanks. I take mostly portraits so I'm always looking for something to do that's a little different. The bubble gum & the b & w photo with the woman on the left are amazing. I'd love to try those!

  • Valerie July 11, 2008 07:48 am

    Thanks so much for the tips! I just started getting into photography and I absolutely love it. I am definitely going to try your suggestions, cant wait!!

  • DC Web Designer July 11, 2008 07:40 am

    Great advises indeed, nowadays.

    With the rapid evolution of the digital cameras, photography is becoming common and mediocre. It is incredible how people love a camera that only take photos when everybody is smiling.

    Creativity is the key to be differenced of the "camera shooters"

  • johnny July 11, 2008 06:50 am

    10 common sense things to think about when taking a photo. nice one.

  • Angie July 11, 2008 06:44 am

    (Wendy-you made me laugh!)
    I always feel I need a new camera!! But I can say that the first couple of suggestions I've actually tried without knowing I was doing something different. LOL. As anewby, it made me proud to know I'm going in the right direction...even if I do still believe I need a new camera!Great suggestions!! THANKS!

  • Michael July 11, 2008 04:47 am

    These are outstanding suggestions, and the sample images used are great. I don't do much portrait photography, but when I do I will try to use some of these techniques. I already know that I prefer taking candid shots rather than posed shots, especially when photographing children.

  • Mandy July 11, 2008 03:55 am

    Loads of great tips here, especially for me as I don't do much portrait photography. This post definitely makes it appealing.

  • Muhammad Jafar July 11, 2008 03:32 am

    Nice pictures...Great tips...two thumbs up...!!!

  • Just Kelly July 11, 2008 03:22 am

    Sounds like someone has been studying his Phillipe Halsman.

    For those who don't know, he was one of the most innovative portrait photographers...well, ever. If you can get ahold of his "Halsman on the Creation of Photographic Ideas", it's an excellent recipe book of sorts, detailing several of these techniques. Number 5 in particular, as he established a whole subgenre of photos of people jumping. I believe "The Jump Book" is out of print now (as is the other book) but you can find individual examples on the web.

    He basically (to boil it way down) preached using 'the unusual feature' (7 & 8), 'the missing feature' (9) and 'the unusual technique' (nearly everything else ;) ). I always try to keep those in mind whether I'm doing portraits or landscapes or anything. The same rules apply.

    Anyway, good article. Just wanted to give props.

  • King July 11, 2008 12:29 am

    One thing that will help to remedy folks busting a pose as soon as you pull the camera out of the bag is to simply pull the camera out a lot more often. As people get more used to seeing you with a camera in your hand, they'll become more natural whenever it comes out up to the point where they simply carry on as if nothing is going on.

    This is a good list, one thing I would add (branching into technique, versus style) to the bit about lighting is that the little built-in flash on your camera is crap. At the very least, look into a hotshoe flash with a diffuser, or preferably do off-camera lighting (see strobist.blogspot.com ), even if you're just doing fill flash.

  • FZ July 10, 2008 11:49 pm

    Good article, great topic, crappy execution. Some shots are (IMO) sub-par. Technically and esthetically. Unconventional or non-traditional forms of art are very difficult to pull off. They seem to excuse certain principals that are set in stone. Like exposure. Some of these examples are truly champions though.

    Remember Al Capp's famous quote: "Abstract art is a product of the untalented, sold by the unprincipled to the utterly bewildered."

  • akp July 10, 2008 11:42 pm

    This is the best posts (of course, almost all the posts are good in DPS!) I have come across in DPS... The 10 ways are real good points and it was a very good idea to have added a photo in each case to show what the point really intends to tell!!!

    Simply superb!!!

  • Jimmy Jones July 10, 2008 09:53 pm

    Very nice article and well written.


  • kiran July 10, 2008 08:36 pm

    Great tip for photographers.Thanks for sharing.


  • Andrew Drake July 10, 2008 06:37 pm

    Breaking the rule of thirds is good, so long as you stick to the rule of thirds ;) Your example that breaks the rule (in terms of placement of the subject) still sticks to the rule in terms of light/dark tones.

    Some very good tips though - will definitely try some of these ideas.

  • lochinvar July 10, 2008 05:19 pm

    I find that best candid children portraits are done from below their eye level

  • Berbel Nijsse July 10, 2008 04:08 pm

    Nice to see that I have been using most of these tips in one way or the other! And the ones I haven't I will have to try soon!
    nice pictures to illustrate the effect! looking forward for the next series

  • Vera Raposo July 10, 2008 03:04 pm

    Thanks for a neat perspective on taking photos, this inspires me to think about this before scrapbooking. :-)

  • Dominique July 10, 2008 02:35 pm

    very informative tips.
    I didn't know that so much went into capturing a captivating shot. Am very interested in improving my photo shooting skill. glad to have found this site.

  • Paul Villacorta July 10, 2008 01:41 pm

    Wow awesome tips and images from those users! I hope there will be a post for Street Photography Tips too!

  • Jason July 10, 2008 12:48 pm


    The first photo was actually my favorite I think! The slight glare in the glasses doesn't take away from the photo for me and the fact it was done with a P&S is even more amazing.

    And I of course liked these tips as a reminder of how to take creative portraits. I want to try that bubble-gum bubble shot!

  • EverafterImages July 10, 2008 09:37 am

    Great article - very good examples...

  • Megapixelicious July 10, 2008 08:03 am

    Very good tips, and I am happy that they dont talk about gear! Composition and subject relationship are the two most important element of portraits.

    Favorite thing about this article is how every point is well illustrated.

  • Rick July 10, 2008 06:46 am

    I think my favorite is "add nudity."

  • Jim July 10, 2008 05:32 am

    Great tips here. Every day I log on here I am learning more and more. I hope to put some of these to the test soon.

  • Sean July 10, 2008 05:25 am

    I have to say that I really do NOT care for the 1st one. There is a hit on the glasses from the built in flash (I looked at the original picture EXIF and it was a P&S) and the frames of the glasses intersect her eyes in an unfortunate way. The perspective is great, but what the flash and the frames have done to her otherwise beautiful eyes is tragic.

  • Alice Bevan–McGregor July 10, 2008 05:05 am

    Playing with composition works well, and really helps give the feeling of candid photography, even if it isn't. A la:


  • And July 10, 2008 04:11 am

    thanks for the tips

  • gaston monescu July 10, 2008 03:58 am

    one of the things i like in portraits is the up-close and 'ordinary' facial expression, when it seems as if youre seeing a thought flash through their mind (Schoeller style)

  • Matt July 10, 2008 03:17 am

    I really like the shot from up high. It really gives you a sense of the subject's environment.

  • Luis July 10, 2008 02:45 am

    I am no pro photographer but a few months ago i was asked to be a backup photographer for a friend's wedding. he had has his 1,400 dollar cannon DSL camera while I had my $240 casio exilim digital camera. i did take way more photos with my camera than the the guy with the pro camera but i did take pictures with my own ideas. so after a few mods with a photo editor i showed the bride and the grom the results a week later and they loved my pictures more than those of the photographers, and i was free!! i should have charged

  • Eric July 10, 2008 02:29 am

    Thanks I'll be putting some of these to good use, no doubt.

  • D. T. North July 10, 2008 02:14 am

    That candid recommendation is a good one when you're shooting children. Face it...it will be hard to get a child to sit still anyhow. So you might as well follow the kid about with the camera as he/she goes about her day. You'll be amazed at how great your shots will be.

  • Peach July 10, 2008 02:10 am

    All these tips are great! I love taking portraits and these new tips will certainly help me. I'm already excited to try some of them out.

    The only problem I have is taking candid shots because I think people are most striking when they appear more natural. My problem is that as soon as I lift my camera to my eye everyone in the room starts posing, as if on cue, which really frustrates me.

    The swivel body camera tip from Marcus is a great idea, but I can't do that with my camera. Buying a longer zoom lens is also an option, but everyone is just too aware of me as soon as I get my camera out of the bag =(

    Looking forward to tomorrow's post!

  • bakari July 10, 2008 01:59 am

    Great tips. I want to add that to get a lot of practice with creative portrait shots, you might try a self-portrait project like the one in a Flickr group called 365 Days. There's some awesome example like the one's above that will give you lots of ideas for portraits. And what's even better, with self-portrait shots you don't have to deal with impatient subjects. You can experiment as much as you want then try those ideas on other people.

  • AC July 10, 2008 01:57 am

    Some wonderful insights in this article. This is one weak area of mine and I hope to use some of these ideas to improve!

  • marcus July 10, 2008 01:47 am

    Swivel body cameras are great for getting candid portraits and interesting angles. You can put the camera on the ground or hold it over your head and still compose with the LCD. When you want to shoot candids, you can hold it in front of you and people assume you're fiddling with settings and not composing a photo. They relax more than when you've got a SLR stuck to your face, so the photos come out much more natural.

  • Rosh July 10, 2008 01:35 am

    Excellent exercise.

    Try shooting objects from the opposite side you normally photograph. It may not work all the time. I find my first or second instinct is usually pretty close, but looking around will force a good habit.

    I often tell photographers don't be afraid of the frames edge. Everything doesn't have to be in the shot. Cut in, get closer.

    Your camera is more then a horizontal framing system


  • Tombo July 10, 2008 01:18 am

    Great tips!!

  • Jackie July 10, 2008 01:11 am

    Thankyou for the inspirational tips. There are a lot of ideas here that I'd never thought of.

  • Pete Langlois July 10, 2008 12:18 am

    These are all great tips. I also like to shoot low especially when I'm shooting flowers or insects to get the shot from their perspective.


  • wendy July 9, 2008 11:39 pm

    After looking at those I need to work on my skills. Either that or I need a new camera.