Associate Professor of Art & Photography.
Tips for Photographing People
The first tip is simple: move in. The most common problem among beginners is that they don’t move in on the subject. Crop out any visually unimportant information before you capture the image.*
The second most common beginners mistake is to place their subject in the dead center. This leaves too much space above the head and creates a boring composition. Move the subject off to one side and have them face in a bit toward the center. Take note that this composition can confuse auto focus.*
Turn your subjects at a 45 degree angle, with their head looking at an angle back at you. Much better than a mug shot straight on. *
If you photograph a person who is looking to the side, allow for compositional lead space. *
Harsh sunlight can make your subject squint. When photographing people outdoors, put them in the shade and use a flash if you can. The flash will fill in the shadows and help bring out color and detail in the photograph.*
When we look at portraits, we want to see the eyes in focus. If you need to focus manually, this is what you should focus on.
Its nice to get highlights in the eyes…it adds life to the photo.
When posing multiple people, make triangles by posing limbs and bodies – without emphasizing horizontal or vertical lines.
When posing a couple, vary their heights a little, it adds visual diversity and interest.*