Portrait Photoshoot Ideas: Do’s and Don’ts

portrait photoshoot ideas

Good quality portrait photos are not just about the subject or the camera. It’s a mixture of both and then some. The best portrait photoshoot ideas require a good amount of planning, practice, and patience. 

If you want to improve your portrait photos and work on your personal branding photos, it is also important to remember the basic rules of photography. To get you started on capturing professional-quality portrait photography, you need to know the basic do’s and don’ts that professional photographers live by.


Do’s for Portrait Photoshoot Ideas

These are some of the things that professional photographers observe in order to get the best portraits, regardless of the subject. 


Do Focus on Expressions

Portraits are all about the subject. You need to showcase them in the best way possible so make sure to highlight their facial expressions. One of the techniques employed by the best portrait photographers is to focus on the eyes since they are the most expressive features of the face.

Another advantage of focusing on the eyes and expression is that it adds personality and story to the portrait. 


Do Try a Variety of Poses

Just because you are trying to capture a portrait, it does not mean that you must focus solely on the face. Include shots that feature the shoulders and arms of the subject. This is the perfect opportunity to explore various poses. You can also experiment with waist-level and full-length shots.

When trying out various poses, it also helps the subject to feel more relaxed when posing in front of the camera. Give the subject the liberty to choose poses that they are most comfortable with to suit their personal branding photography needs.

top portrait photoshoot ideas

Do Make Use of Lighting

Lighting is one of the most important tools to aid in capturing great portraits. The best portrait photoshoot ideas are the ones that make full use of lighting. 

This is why outdoor portraits are the best since you can work with various background ideas. It also gives you access to natural lighting that is softer than the studio lighting. As long as you don’t shoot directly under the sunlight, you’re good. 


Do Keep a Conversation Going

When taking portraits, it is important to maintain a conversation with the subject. This is a great technique used by the best professional photographers in order to build a connection with the subject. It can also make them feel more comfortable and at ease during the session.

Instead of telling them to “say cheese”, strike up a conversation and make them smile naturally by telling a silly joke. 


Don’ts for Portrait Photoshoot Ideas

Want to capture great portraits? Make sure you avoid these common mistakes. 


Don’t Take Close-Ups

Close-ups are a no-no when it comes to portrait photography. The tendency with taking close-ups is to compensate for it with a wide-angle lens. When you do this, there is a greater amount of linear distortion in the photo. For example, some features of the face like the eyes or nose are larger compared to the rest of the subject’s body.

Avoid close-ups whenever possible because it does not always produce the best portraits.


Don’t Just Stand There

A full-length frontal shot is not only boring but it can create an unflattering angle for your subject, too. This type of pose rarely ever works, especially in portrait photography.

The trick is to add layers to the photo by having the subject elevate certain parts of the body, such as the shoulders or head. This is a minor change but can make a world of difference in terms of creating dynamic lines in your photo. 


Don’t Forget the Background

When shooting outdoor portraits, take advantage of what’s around you to be able to create natural and flattering portraits. Get the subject to do an activity that they enjoy or make the most of what’s available in the area you are shooting in. It is a great technique to make shooting portraits fun and easy. Plus, it will make the session more fun for everyone involved. 

portrait photoshoot ideas and tips

Don’t Force Subjects in Awkward Poses

As mentioned above, you’ll want the subject to try out a variety of poses that they are comfortable with. When it comes to shooting portraits, don’t insist on making them do a particular pose that they are not comfortable with or find awkward. Even if you manage to get them to do it, it won’t pass as a great-looking photo. Trust us – it will show! 


The Bottom Line

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to portrait photography. However, the list of do’s and don’ts above shall help you understand the techniques employed by professionals in order to get quality shots. But don’t let any of these limit your creativity. Feel free to explore unique portrait photoshoot ideas to create your own photography style. 

portrait photo ideas
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