1- Have the right equipment
This trick seems obvious and yet ... Many are content today to take their phone and capture an emotion for a moment, without thinking about the frame, the depth, the light ... But nothing beats a good old camera photo with a tripod to get a completely neat result. Also remember to use a suitable lens. A 50 mm, the best is 85mm. A wide angle will deform your model
2- Ask the right questions
Before taking your picture, you must be able to answer these few questions:
What elements do you want to put forward?
Which parts of the face of your model are the most interesting?
Where will you position your subject in your frame to provide great value to your portrait?
3- Use the right settings
In order to have a blur background, go for a large aperture (maximum f / 4 or less) do not forget to focus correctly before each pose, focus on the eyes always.
4- Use the rule of thirds
Have you ever heard of the rule of thirds? This is one of the most important rules of photography. This rule makes it possible to obtain photographs with interesting compositions, but especially balanced and to give strength to each of the images.
When taking a photo, imagine that your frame is divided into 9 rectangles of equal size. Place your subject or the elements you want to highlight on one of the lines of force of your image or on one of the intersection points of each line. It gives depth and a sense of direction.
In a portrait, the look and therefore the eyes are often the most important elements of the model's face. So remember to use the rule of thirds to correctly position your subject and his look in your frame. You will bring more strength to your image.
5- Highlight your subject
A successful portrait is a photograph on which the subject is highlighted. Usually, in portrait, a shallow depth of field is recommended, in order to isolate your model from the background and surrounding of your picture.
Do not hesitate to ask your model to tilt his/her chin slightly. This will allow you to focus more on his/her eyes.
Create curves, triangles, play on the spaces between the arms, the body, with the face, to bring more lightness.
6- Properly frame your model
The background is not as important as for wide shots. The eye should focus on the model or detail you want to highlight. Fill your frame with your model, especially if it is a full-length portrait. A tight framing will reinforce the expression of your subject.
7- Manage the light
The light is the most important points of the portrait, but also one of the most complicated details to manage.
Natural light or flash? Remember that the primary purpose of a portrait is to beautify your subject, to show it in its best light and not accentuate its flaws or the hardness of its features.
Natural light can give a softer and more spontaneous look. Be careful though in case of big sunny days, sunlight can indeed accentuate the negative details of your model, forcing him/her to squint, highlight the shadows and make it look rather hard. Prefer a cloudy day, with a veiled sun, opt for the backlight and use reflectors, a flash, even outdoors. The reflectors will then be your best allies to get a nice rendering.
Similarly, for an indoor portrait, the studio lights can give a rendering sometimes much too raw. Have fun moving the sources of light, to reflect them differently on the face of your subject.
Think of natural reflectors, like a white wall.
8- Install a relaxing atmosphere with your subject
If your model is tense and uncomfortable in front of your camera, the rendering of portraits will be unsatisfactory. Put him/her in confidence. Talk with him/her. You can put music for example, tell anecdotes or make jokes. Be precise in your instructions. Do not blame him/her. Congratulate him/her when taking good poses. The key to a successful portrait is not only in technique and acute knowledge in photography, but also and essentially in the relationship that you will have with your subject. Trust from is very important in photography.
9- Position yourself in the right place
No doubt that taking the low-angle is not very advantageous and does not allow to slim the face of your subject. Remember to photograph your model at the level of his/her eyes, slightly below or above.
You are ready to succeed in your portraits. It's your turn !