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5 Tips to Improve Your Portrait Photos

In this 7-minute video, photographer Craig Beckta has 5 tips that will help improve your portrait photos drastically.

#1 Use Off-Camera Flash

“The larger the light source and the closer it is to your subject, the softer the light,” says Beckta. He also prefers to use round softboxes, as it creates a round catchlight similar to that which you can expect from the sun.

For more on this topic read:

#2 Use Different Lighting Patterns

Moving your light source around and adjusting the angles and modifiers allows you to change the pattern of light. Some lighting patterns are more flattering for particular situations, but changing the lighting pattern throughout a shoot means that you have more options available to you back in the editing room.

Read 6 Portrait Lighting Patterns Every Photographer Should Know

#3 Direct Your Subjects

Even with experienced models, it is “important that you give them subtle directions.” After all, the model can’t see what you can see as the photographer. Keeping good direction over the shoot keeps you in control creatively, and dialogue between yourself and the model can only be a good thing to keep everyone comfortable.

Check out our dPS printable posing guides for more ideas.

#4 Think About the Background

A wide aperture will allow you to blur the background, but be careful that there aren’t distracting objects intersecting your subject.

#5 Watch Your Exposure

Be careful with your exposure. There’s nothing worse than coming home from a shoot and finding the highlights are blown out or the shadows lost. Beckta runs through his entire process with regards to monitoring his exposure during a shoot.

Over to you

What do you think? Do you have any other tips for portrait photography?

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Will Nicholls

Will Nicholls is a professional wildlife photographer and film-maker from the UK. He has won multiple awards for his work, including the title of Young British Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2009. Will runs a blog for nature photographers, Nature TTL, which provides tutorials and inspirational articles to readers. He also has a free eBook available called 10 Top Tips to Instantly Improve Your Nature Photos.