How To: Take a Portrait Photo
Take a portrait worth a thousand words with these tips.

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Everybody says portrait photography can be very challenging, but I’m here to tell you it’s not as challenging as rocket science.

We all know how to take pictures of people once they are in front of the camera, but taking a nice-looking portrait photo is a whole ‘nother story.

Today I’m sharing with you some simple tips to taking better photos. Try them out and you will immediately see how even the small things can make a difference.


The eyes are the focal point of a person’s face, so good portraitists should make the eyes of their subjects the sharpest highlight in their pictures.

This is often considered the first rule to a beautiful portrait.


Certain times of the day are better than others for taking pictures of people. The light is naturally softer and more becoming before the sun sets and early in the morning. If you can, take advantage of the beauty of the light at these times.

How to Take a Portrait Photo 2

Source: Beth Parnaby


If you want to bring attention to your subject (which is what a portrait is about!), you should get rid of distracting elements by leaving them out of the frame.

Get closer to the people you are shooting until they fill the frame or use a longer lens, like a 50 millimeter and up.

How to Take a Portrait Photo 3

Source: DeusXForida


Another way to direct the attention to your subject is to choose an unobtrusive background.

A blank wall is pretty easy to find almost anywhere and will cost you nothing. If you can’t find one, don’t panic. You can have a friend hold a large piece of fabric or other material behind your subject.

How to Take a Portrait Photo 4

Source: Bahman Farzad


You don’t have necessarily to take a close-up shot to make it an interesting portrait. Getting a few steps back to include some of the environment can make a good picture, too.

For good environmental portraits, you should take the time to frame the subject carefully and make sure the background doesn’t look messy or cluttered.

Ask yourself if the person is still the focus of the picture. If not, you should reconsider your composition.

How to Take a Portrait Photo 5

Source: Cuba Gallery


Nine out of 10 times the pop-up flash will make your subject look like some ghastly ghost. It’s always better to turn the flash off and move the subject to a place where you will find better light.

You can also use a faster lens (if your camera allows it) or expose for a longer time, perhaps using a tripod or other support to keep the camera steady.

How to Take a Portrait Photo 6

Source: Luigi Mirto


Taking good portrait pictures starts with very easy techniques and tricks that anybody, even people who have rarely handled a camera, can follow.

You will also benefit from taking pictures regularly. Do not forget that you will become more confident and your results will improve if you practice.

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About the Author
Kristi Maddox is a master of graphic design, on-site design and ordering, and is the go-to for template and design tool usage.
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2 Comments

  1. wow, some really coole examples!

  2. i love taking human photos. so much more life there