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how to get the best portraits

how to get the best portraits

Photography wise, I mainly take portraits. I love doing photo shoots with people. Here are some tips on how to get the best shots of a person.

how to get the best portraits

Make them comfortable

I always start shoots by telling people if they aren't comfortable, it will look uncomfortable. It helps if you tell people that when you pose them, if they have to, they can naturally work into it themselves. Instead of just freezing their arm where you moved it for example, tell them to shake it out and then put their arm back in the position. Emphasize to them making themselves feel natural so they can be aware when something feels unnatural. That way, when you end up going back through photos you don't end up with the awkward, what are they doing with their hands, etc!

Make them laugh

Having a good attitude when shooting is SO important! If you are talking to them and cracking jokes it makes the whole experience a lot more uncomfortable! 

Show them GOOD pictures as you're shooting

Let's face it, we take pictures with our phones 24/7. A lot of people aren't naturally good in front of a camera, and the camera itself will make them uncomfortable. We are so used to IPhone cameras that a big camera can be a little intimidating. As you get good shots in the beginning, show them how beautiful they look! It's encouraging to know even if they feel awkward, they look good! Girls especially need reassurance that they look good in pictures. Once you show them good shots, they warm up to the camera a lot more and get excited! 

Show them how to pose

One of the best things to do is either to show the person what pose you want or to move them slightly. Before you start taking pictures, hop on Pinterest and refresh yourself with posing ideas by searching "senior photographs poses" or "family poses" so you have some fresh ideas in your head. Always come with some poses you already have in my mind. My pinterest board where I keep ideas is below.

Play music

If you're shooting inside, I love to play music. If you let whoever is shooting pick, usually they have music they like and naturally feel more comfortable with. That's my best tip for taking indoor portraits, since it usually feels a little bit more awkward than an outdoor shoot.


The best angle of a person is always slightly above and for women shoulders not directly perpendicular to the camera. Make sure even if you are shorter to try to get shots from a slightly above angle. Photos from above are slimming for the face and are more flattering. Also to be thinning, if the shoulders aren't straight on in the picture it will help. In the picture to the side you can see how flattering it is to have one shoulder forward- I always try to make a conscious effort taking pictures to direct people that way/


Golden hour is so important. I only shoot in the early morning or late evening, and never in between. For things besides people, the middle of the day can be great and bright lighting. However, for portraits if you shoot at 1 or 2 pm you will end up with really dark undereye shadows and generally unflattering light for anyone. You avoid squinting and sweating, and get the most beautiful diffused light an hour or so before sunset. All the ones below were either shot in the evening or early morning! 

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