Photograph the family
Focus on the eyes
Use soft lighting
Make sure the subject is relaxed
Many aspiring portrait photographers fail because they are more focused on their camera settings than in striking up a rapport with the subject, resulting in tense poses and wooden expressions. In order to get relaxed poses and natural expressions it’s vital to put the subject at ease, and a bit of banter is a great way to make them forget about the camera.
Get in close to fill the frame
Most portraits taken by novices can be improved dramatically simply by cropping, because one of the biggest faults is to not get close enough. Getting in close creates more impact and helps exclude distracting background details. A short telephoto (around 50-100mm) lets you crop in tightly without having to get physically too close, and create a more flattering perspective.
Find the light
When photographing people indoors, look for where the light is best. This will most likely be near a window or open door, where there is natural light coming in.
Shoot from above
The most flattering shooting position for portraits is usually from slightly above, level with the top of the subject’s forehead. This will place more emphasis on the subject’s eyes, rather than their nose or chin.
Many portrait subjects and photographers struggle to know what to do with arms and legs. If not posed well they can look awkward, or distract from the face. Avoid having arms and legs extend towards the camera too far or they may look disproportionately big. If resting a chin in a hand ensure the head is only gently resting or the cheeks will be pushed up and the face distorted.
Use furniture and props for posing
Asking someone to stand on the spot and look at the camera is not conducive to relaxed photos, but posing them artificially can look forced. It’s best to find a position where the subject can find a naturally comfortable pose. This may be leaning against a wall, sitting in a chair, or perched on the edge of a table. Steps make a good posing prop as there are many ways they can be utilised for posing.
Be sensible when photographing kids
There was a time when you could photograph kids in the street without any problems. Many great photos from some of our finest photojournalists, such as Cartier-Bresson and Bill Brandt, are of children. But those days are gone so think twice before photographing children who aren’t yours, or whose parents you don’t know or haven’t spoken to first, for permission.