One of the great things about portraiture is that you really never run out of subjects.
I mean, whether you photograph your kids, your dog, your friends, or random people on the street, there's usually someone, somewhere, that can be a model for your portraits.
But just because there's tons of subject matter doesn't mean that portraiture is necessarily easy...
There are plenty of things you can do to improve your portraits, though.
In the video above by Jamie Windsor, you can get nine tips for better portraits.
Have a look at what Jamie has to say, and for a quick overview of some of his most critical points, check the article below.
Focus on the Eyes
The obvious point here is that the focus of your portrait should typically be on the subject's eyes.
But more than that, you need to consider a couple of other things.
First, if the subject is looking off camera, which direction are they looking?
This is important because you want to give them some room in the frame on the same side as they're looking as shown above.
Secondly, think about what the person's eyes are saying.
This might sound a little deep or philosophical, but you need to try to match the emotion or feeling expressed in the eyes in the shot.
For example, if the subject's eyes are bright and open, you don't want a dark, cloudy setting for the portrait.
Instead, opt for a shoot outside at sunset as that would match the brightness of the subject's eyes much better.
Allow the Subject to Be Natural
One thing that I've found over the years is that I much prefer portraits in which the subject is relaxed and natural.
That doesn't mean that I don't like posed portraits with people smiling at the camera, but as Jamie points out in the video, sometimes posed photos aren't a true representation of the person you're photographing.
So, if you want to take better portraits, strive to help the subject relax and let go of their inhibitions.
You can do that by joking around with them or simply engaging them in conversation to help them forget that you're even taking their photo.
Another option is to use a long lens, that way you can go about your business without being right up in the subject's face while you press the shutter button.
What's more, if you keep shooting when the subject is between takes or poses, you'll often find that their natural state of being - relaxed cheeks, relaxed shoulders, and so forth - often results in some of the best photos of the entire shoot.
Capturing candid photos like these is much more about the experience that the subject is having as opposed to photographing some idealized notion of what a person should look like in a portrait.
Editor's Tip: Your photos deserve a place on your wall. Find out how to get gorgeous prints.
Learn Not to Care
At first, this sounds like a crazy piece of advice, but when you think about it, leaving your inhibitions behind and just going for it is actually quite liberating.
As a photographer, this means finding ways to break convention, break photography rules, and come up with new and exciting ways to take photos.
That means being silly and putting yourself out there to help your subjects find that magic moment in which you can capture a perfect portrait.
It takes guts to be a photographer, and while you need to listen to what some people say about what you do and the work you create, ultimately, you just need to learn not to care!
But Care About Your Prints...
It's great to throw caution to the wind and let your creativity take over when you're behind the lens.
It's also great to be liberated from caring what others think.
But something you definitely need to care about is the quality of the prints you get.
I've gotten hundreds of prints over the years, and to be honest, I'd say at least 30-40% of them were disappointing upon arrival.
That's because there was a time when I tried budget printing options - let me tell you, it didn't work out.
Then I found CanvasHQ.
I was very impressed with the communication and the professionalism shown. My designer contacted me to let me know what they thought was best for my canvas. I will definitely be using CanvasHQ again in the future. - Stephanie T., New Milford, CT
What's so great about these guys is that they produce impeccable canvas prints, but they don't charge you an arm and a leg.
That means you get the best of both worlds - a gorgeously crafted, high-quality print that doesn't require a second mortgage to pay for it.
Speaking of the quality, CanvasHQ has a 100% money-back guarantee. If you don't like your print, just send it back within 30 days to get a refund. Nice!
And it's not just the print itself that's amazing - the solid wood frames behind the canvas are made by skilled artisans.
That means that not only will your canvas look great and last a long time, but it will also look like fine art - something that's worthy of a spot on the most prominent wall in your house.
Order arrived quickly and is better than I was expecting! Beautiful! THANKS! - Amy R., Pittsburgh, PA
CanvasHQ is a family owned and operated business, and they treat every single canvas they make with the love and care you'd expect from a good family friend.
If you want the best portraits, don't just focus on taking or processing the image. Instead, take some time to get a high-quality print, too!