Portrait Photography Tips for Beginners 2023

9 minutes read

Portrait photography is a genre of photography that focuses on capturing the likeness of a person or group of people. It involves capturing a person’s emotions, personality, mood, etc. Without the proper knowledge, it is very tough to connect with the subject and bring out the best outcome in the final result. Though it is a very popular form of photography, it requires composition and lighting skills, technical skills, and the ability to connect with a person’s behavior.

Especially, beginners face many difficulties when starting portrait photography due to lacking proper knowledge. In this session, I am going to cover the basics of portrait photography. It will help to choose the right lens, solve lighting issues, and pose your subject for capturing amazing portrait images.

Not only that, I will also explore how to use props, backgrounds, and other elements for creating a memorable story. So, if you’re a newbie in portrait photography, this session is for you. I will cover some effective portrait photography tips for beginners in 2023.

Let’s start…

What Is Portrait Photography?

What Is Portrait Photography

Portrait photography is a type of photography aiming to capture the subject’s essence and tells a story about the subject’s feelings, and emotions. A portrait photographer challenges to bring out a person’s identity, likeness, and mood in a photograph. The subject can be an individual person or a group of people; it doesn’t matter. The only thing matter here is to accurately capture the character of a person and convey a story through the image. 

A portrait photographer can capture photos in a studio environment with artificial lighting and backdrops. If they wish to use a natural lighting source, they may go outside and capture photos in the natural environment. So, the photographer needs sound knowledge about exposure, composition, lighting as well as creativity.

You can gather knowledge from various sources but creativity is something that you must have own. Without it, you won’t be able to connect with the subject’s emotions and bring great results. Here is the big challenge a photographer faces. So, what’s the solution?

Very simple,

As a newbie capture photos as much as you can. Play with different posing, spend time analyzing works, and find out why this is not perfect. Try to avoid those issues in the next photo shoot. Keep in mind that expertise comes with experience. So, you must spend time to achieve it.

There are some people who have by-born creativity skills. I am not talking about those genius people. I guess you’re ordinary people like me and you must develop your creativity skill by practicing it on a daily basis.

So, whether you’re a hobbyist or amateur photographer and want to take challenges to capture a person’s identity along with creativity, you must have solid pieces of equipment and technical skills for doing this perfectly.

8 Portrait Photography Tips for Beginners

Trendy Portrait Photography Tips for Beginners

Whether you’re photographing friends, family members, or clients, the following tips will provide you with a solid foundation to enhance your portrait photography skills:

Choose Right Lens

Choosing the right lens for portrait photography is extremely important. All lens isn’t perfect for every type of photography. Some great lenses exist only for landscape, some are for sports, and as a portrait photographer, you must find out the perfect lens for your photo shoot.

If you want a natural view like the human eye then you can try with 50mm lens. These lenses are often considered as the best lenses for portrait photography. As the lenses have a wide aperture which will help you to capture images. You can also blur the photo background perfectly.

85mm and 135mm lenses are also great for portrait photography. It will help to capture images with an even shallower depth field and compressed perspectives.

However, shooting style and subject feeling also play an important role when selecting lenses for portrait photography. If you have a limited budget, you can go with a single lens. But having multiple lenses may help to overcome any odd situations while capturing portrait photos.

Work With Natural Light

Natural light is a great source of soft, warm, and flattering glow. It enhances the mood and identity of a person. While working with natural light, you must consider the directions and quality of the light source. Your aim should be finding a soft light source. If your light creates harsh shadows or hot spots, it may badly affect the photo shoot.

The biggest challenge of using natural light sources is using reflectors and diffusers. If possible, use it in your photo shoot as it will help to control light and help you create the great look that you want.

Natural light is always changeable and we don’t have control over it. As the light changes, you may need to change the camera settings and shooting techniques, etc.  For capturing perfect colors with skin tones, you may play with the white balance adjustment of your camera setting. Along with this, you should also focus on light color and quality. 

As a newbie, you need patience and practice to do it perfectly. I suggest you forget about correctness and capture as much as possible shoot. Analyze the photo shoot and try to overcome the mistakes in your next photo shoot. It is always better to have a connection with an experienced photographer.  They may help to find out your mistakes which are very important. If you can’t figure out mistakes, how can you improve your skill?

Experiment with artificial light

Artificial light is something that most photographers use and prefer while photo shoots. As you have more control over light and play with the source for creating a soft and natural glow. You also have the option of experimenting with strobes, continuous light, and LED panels which will help to find the best option for your needs.

As a portrait photographer, you must play with moods and styles, so you must pay attention to the position you choose angles of your light source. You may adjust the light for creating a look that you feel.

However, by comparing both natural and artificial light, you have much control over artificial light. So, you can use this for creating stunning portrait images that showcase the identity of your subjects.

Pay Attention to the composition

Composition is an essential element of portrait photography and can significantly impact your images’ emotions. Considering the “rule of thirds” is a great option while composing portrait photos. Using the rule, you will divide your frames into three sections both horizontally and vertically. And, place your subject along one of the lines.

You can also experiment with camera angles, shooting angles, background and foreground elements and finally surrounding elements in the frame. Ensure that eyes are in focus and sharp.

It will help to create well-balanced, stunning portrait photos that showcase the personality of your subjects.

Pose Your Subjects

Posing your subjects can significantly impact the look and feel of your portrait photographs. When posing, consider the subject’s body language, and encourage them to express themselves naturally. 

Guide your subjects into poses that flatter their figure, and avoid awkward or uncomfortable postures. While posing, you must pay attention to the hands and feet. You aim should be positioning it in a natural and relaxed way.

You should also encourage your subject to hold poses for a few seconds. It allows you to keep focus on the subject and complete the shot accurately. Experiment with different poses and angles, and work with your subjects to find poses that capture their individuality and personality. 

With guidance and creativity, you can create dynamic, expressive portraits that showcase your subjects’ beauty and personality.

Background Is Important

Background can significantly impact your subject’s overall feeling and look. And,  we can’t ignore the power of perfect backgrounds to create stunning portrait photos. Though we have the option to remove the background later, still we should pay attention to it.

Try to avoid distracting backgrounds such as undesired elements, harsh lines, cluttered areas, and more. Your aim should be looking for clean look backgrounds that complement your subjects and help to add mood and style.

Use props and accessories

Using props and accessories can add an extra dimension to your portrait photography and help create unique and memorable images.

Keep in mind that props and accessories should be the best match for your subject’s personality and style. And, they must feel comfortable with these accessories.

There are various props and accessories like hats, glasses, jewelry, clothing, etc. However, your accessories should create interest and add depth to your portraits. You can make fun, playful portraits that showcase your subjects’ beauty and personality.

When using props and accessories, ensure that they are positioned naturally and balanced way.

Edit Your Images

Editing is essential for any photograph. Though some cameras have advanced technologies like exposure, contrast adjustment, hue, and saturation adjustment for capturing great shots, you need the assistance of photo editing. Whether you may do it by yourself or hire professionals to do it, you need to edit photos.

One thing you should keep in mind is that you must edit photos in a natural way. Over-editing may destroy your full efforts. On the contrary, any imprecations of editing impact on person’s identity. So, you should be careful at the time of editing photos.

If you plan to outsource it then you can choose clipping path action or the clipping path services company. Both are professional photo outsourcing companies and help lots of photographers to create stunning visualizations.


Portrait photography is a beautiful and rewarding art form and quite different from other types of photography. With proper skills, you will be able to create stunning visualizations.

At the same, you must have the patience to practice this regularly. You can learn lots of things by reading but the real-life experience is a must for gathering more knowledge.

So, don’t ignore it. Grab the cameras and start today capturing portrait photos.

Hopefully, these tips will help you in your next project.


About the Author

PhotoExplain Team

PhotoExplain Team

PhotoExplain is a remarkable and well-organized photography blogging platform on the web. It was founded by a few photography enthusiasts to share knowledge, news, and updates for photographers.

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