Portrait Session: 5 Ways to Improve Portraits In 30 Days

In Master Photography Roundtable by Jeff HarmonLeave a Comment

Erica & Connor share their best suggestions to help you improve your portraits in the next 30 days.

  • Familiarize yourself with your gear. It is easy to get bogged down with GAS, but it is important to realize that the best gear you can use is the stuff you have right now. Don’t allow yourself to pine after a new camera body if you don’t know the strengths and limitations your current gear.
  • Set up portfolio shoots.
    • Everyone has a busy schedule, so there is no need to add a certain amount of shoots here, do what you can comfortably do with your schedule even if it is just one shoot.
    • The key here is to not just set up a shoot, show up, and shoot the way you feel comfortable with. Set goals ahead of time of something you want to improve on and focus on that thing throughout the shoot so it becomes a comfortable point for you.
    • Set up portfolio shoots based on what you want to be paid for. Focus your efforts on the types of photography you want to be hired for. Don’t just shoot randomly.
  • Start Pre-visualizing your shoots.
    • This goes along well with the last segment. Go back and look at work you have done within the last 6 months and pull them apart. What could you have done better? THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING THAT COULD BE DONE BETTER.
    • Is this something you understand how to overcome?
    • The day of shooting it is nearly impossible to remember these things you casually noticed if you haven’t already mapped a solution to the problem. Think out exactly how you plan to overcome your weakness and have a “go-to” thing you want to do to fix it. This will increase the likelihood of you following through when the time actually comes about.
  • Focus on light.
    • Carve out time every day to focus on light. This doesn’t necessarily mean photography related light. As often as possible, pay attention to the way light hits certain objects and the shadows they create. The more you do this, the better you will understand the qualities of light.
    • Also make time to focus on photography related light. Whether you want to perfect your natural light photos or learn about flash, dedicate at least 30 minutes every day to light. Read about it, experiment with it, etc.
  • Start Building a visual vocabulary.
    • Something I have found as I have progressed in photography is that I have a certain visual aesthetic that appeals to me. This is something I honed by using sites like pinterest and tumblr to find work that appealed to me and pinned it.
    • This isn’t so you just copy work you find, but when you have a large list of images that you find striking, it starts to become easier to see elements of things you like in that imagery. I just recently downloaded tumblr again and went through my blog I haven’t posted on in a few years and it is amazing to see how much the things I blogged there still resonate with me now.

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