fifteen Portrait Photography Mistakes (And How to Fix Them)

15 Portrait Photography Mistakes (And How to Fix Them)

common portrait photography mistakes

Family portrait photography could be tough. In fact , there are a few simple mistakes that I see family portrait shooters make over and over again, mistakes that will seriously detract from their images.

Thankfully, while these portrait pictures mistakes are problematic, they are not hard to recognize – plus they’re not hard to fix, possibly.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at the most common 15 portraiture mistakes (made by beginners, hobbyists, and even professionals).

1 . A poor composition

Beginner family portrait photographers make this mistake pretty consistently:

They will don’t think carefully about the position of the subject in the framework, leading to a bad portrait composition (and an off-balance image). In particular, photographers tend to keep too much space around their subject’s head, which usually detracts from the look and the really feel of the photo.

So unless there is significant information above the person, crop more tightly across their head:

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2 . A entertaining background

Family portrait photographers tend to focus on topics and poses, but are you aware that the history is insanely important, too?

It’s true! A untidy background will draw attention away from the subject and can instantly ruin an otherwise excellent image.

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So before shooting that shutter button, check the area behind your subject. Does it look clean? Or even is it distracting?

Also, choose your lens and aperture thoughtfully. If you’re stuck with a distracting background, you can use a long lens plus a wide aperture to obnubilate the background into oblivion:

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3. The topic is too close to the background

The best portrait pictures often feature beautiful background bokeh – that is, background blur – but the nearer the subject is to the background, the greater difficult it is to create this effect.

Therefore don’t let your subject matter sit or stand up against the background. Instead, ask your subject to take a couple of steps out (in truth, I recommend you do this even though you’re working with a plain background).

That way, you can get a nice background blur:

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four. Using a too-wide aperture

In an attempt to create spectacular bokeh, portrait photographers usually shoot with their lens’s widest aperture.

But while it’s often good to use a shallow depth of field effect in order to blur out distractions plus complement the main subject, in case you let your depth of field go too shallow, your subject will become fuzzy, and viewers will find it difficult to comprehend your image.

So don’t widen your aperture too much, especially if you’re working with a longer lens and/or up close. Instead of shooting at f/1. 8, for example, you might choose to work at f/2. 8. That way, you can get a wonderful background, but a sharp subject, too:

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5. Out-of-focus eyes

If your subject offers eyes, then you must focus on them.

This is one photography rule I follow. Out-of-focus eyes rarely look good in portrait photos!

So before you press the shutter button, make certain you’ve nailed focus on the particular eyes. (If your digital camera offers eye-detection AF, it can be a huge help. )

Pro tip: In case your subject’s head is turned to one side, you don’t need to get both eyes within focus – just the eyesight that’s closer to the camera.

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6. Shooting with a slow shutter speed

You might think that portrait subjects are usually pretty stationary and that you may get away with a shutter speed in the 1/80s range.

But here’s the thing: People move! If a person moves and you are shooting at 1/80s, they will blur, and your image may fail.

You need to choose a shutter speed that’s fast enough to freeze your subject even if they shift in place. In my experience, 1/250s is usually fast enough. Go any slower, however , and you could run into problems.

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7. Poor lights

Modern digital cameras can take photos in all types of light…

…but just because you can take a photo doesn’t mean you need to.

Some forms of lighting work great for portraits , whilst other forms of lighting appearance terrible; that’s why it’s important to carefully select your lighting based on the mood that will you’re after.

For instance, hard, high-contrast lighting is good for edgy, extreme images, but it’s not so excellent when you want a soft, romantic-looking portrait.

So make sure you think about your light before shooting. And if you photograph outdoors, pay attention to the light path and quality as you function!

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eight. Bad timing

If you capture the right expression and poses in your portraits, you’ll flatter your subject matter. But if you capture the wrong expressions and poses, your own subject may be reluctant to let you photograph them again.

Careful time can make or break the portrait. Waiting and watching a person’s face plus body before pressing the shutter button is vital. A lot of people change their expression and pose as they stare into your camera, so you need to be ready to shoot when they look their best.

Also, focus on your subject’s eyes. When they’re blinking a lot, you will need to time your photos in between the blinks!

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9. Not really taking enough photos

When doing a family portrait photoshoot, you need to take lots of photos. If you shoot as well infrequently, you’ll only have some images to choose from, and you’re bound to feel frustrated whenever editing.

Nevertheless, you need to shoot deliberately . Don’t just sit with your camera on burst mode, filling up your card with near-identical images. Instead, try to capture a variety of expressions. Aim to create a good variety of shots. This will give your subject lots to look at, and it’ll let them make selections far more easily.

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10. Getting too many photos

Taking too few photos is really a serious portrait photography error, but taking too many photos can be a major problem, too.

For one, in case you shoot too much, you’ll have numerous photos to go through, which can be tiresome, repetitive, and unnecessary work.

In addition, if you’re constantly firing the particular shutter, it may make your subject nervous, which will display in their face and lead to consistently bad results.

What is the right number of photos for a session? That depends on you, this will depend on your subject, and it depends on the type of photoshoot. But pay careful attention to your subject, and do what you can to keep all of them interested and comfortable!

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11. Failing to connect with the subject

Portrait photography might seem very technical, but in reality, the best photos often require a connection between the photographer as well as the subject.

Actually connecting with the person you are photographing is one of the single most important aspects of portraiture. Many professional photographers spend so much time and attention connecting with their digital cameras that they ignore their subject. As a result, the subject never relaxes and the images look hard.

So before you start shooting, build a rapport with your subject – even if you just have a few minutes. That way, your issue will look relaxed and happy, you’ll get better pictures, plus everyone will leave feeling good!

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12. Not giving the subject enough direction

Before you start shooting, explain to your subject what you hope to get free from the portrait session. Plus don’t make it all about a person, either; be sure to ask the subject what these people hope to achieve. What kind of photos do they want to create?

After that, once you begin shooting, be sure to give them plenty of direction. Describe exactly what you’re trying to perform, and if they don’t understand, show them with your own body. Position your hands, face, legs, and arms in the perfect present, and they can mimic you.

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thirteen. Feeling like you are imposing

Many street and travel photographers, when attempting to take portraits associated with strangers, feel very awkward. They will feel like they’re bothering the subject, so they try to take honest portraits from a distance.

But standing back and shooting with a long zoom lens rarely produces an intimate family portrait. Instead, work on overcoming your fear. Practice approaching people on the street and asking whenever you can take a few photos. Most of all: Recognize that you’re not imposing. Many people actually like getting their image taken!

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14. Not being confident

When you’re conducting the portrait session, you must act confident (even if you don’t feel it! ). If you act self-conscious and unsure, your subject will be able to tell, and they’ll begin to feel uncertain, too.

So when you start to take pictures, relax. Take a deep breath. Remember that you know what you’re doing, that you are taking good photos, and just let yourself enjoy the moment!

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15. Rushing to get finished

Here’s your final portrait photography mistake:

Trying to get the shoot done as fast as possible – since you’ve scheduled multiple back-to-back shoots, or because you are simply tired and want to be done for the day.

Spend some time. It’s not a race.

Give yourself room to concentrate on what you are doing. Slow down, make sure you’re getting the shots you’re right after, and your subject is bound to have a much better time.

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Portrait photography errors: final words

Well, there you have this:

The family portrait photography mistakes that every photographer should avoid.

So remember this article. Identify the mistakes that you simply make, then take steps to fix them!

At this point over to you:

Do you make some of these common portraiture mistakes? Reveal your thoughts in the comments below!







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