One of the things people often ask me is how to take pictures that look less like a snapshot and more like a portrait.  Let’s face it, we would all love to be able to have professional pictures taken of our families but sometimes that’s just not in the cards. You have been with me on this journey for six months now. You have learned a lot about taking pictures and how to use your camera. You can take professional looking pictures. You just have to put it all together! Here are eight steps to help you turn your everyday snapshots into portraits.

8 steps to take your snapshots to portraits

8 Steps to Help You Turn Everyday Pictures into Portraits 

1. Choose the Correct Settings . Before you even begin to take a picture, make sure you have the correct settings. Use a low ISO if lighting permits {I like to keep mine at 1oo or 2oo}. Don’t forget to set your white balance as well. If you are shooting outdoors, set it to cloudy. This will help produce a warmer picture.

2. Look at your lighting. Try to avoid direct sunlight. This can produce harsh shadows and a lot of squinting. Look for some shade.

3. Look at your background. Your backdrop can make all the difference in the world. If you are shooting indoors, make sure that there isn’t any clutter behind your subject. If you are outdoors, look for things like trashcans and telephone poles. You don’t want anything behind your subject that will take away from them in the picture. Here’s a post I wrote about finding great backdrops for your photos.

4. Pose your subject. This may be hard to do if you are working with small children that just want to play. And that’s ok too! You can get great portraits of children being themselves. If you are working with older children or adults, show them what you are looking for them to do. Make sure they are comfortable!

8 steps to take your snapshots to portraits

5. Frame your shot. I like to frame my shot while shooting instead of doing it in post-processing. Play around with different angles. Don’t be afraid to get up close!

8 steps to take your snapshots to portraits

6. Make eye contact. Make sure your subject is maintaining eye contact with the camera. To me, the eyes are one of the most important things in a photograph.

7. Get good focus! Again, it’s all in the eyes. Of all the things you want in focus in your photograph, it’s the eyes. Using the correct shutter speed will also help you get tack sharp images.

8. Post-processing. I know you aren’t afraid to edit anymore! Upload your picture to PicMonkey {or your favorite editing program} and enhance the awesome photograph you have. Up the contrast. Brighten it a bit. Play around with the cropping.

These are all things that I do at every one of my sessions. The more you practice the 8 steps above, the better your photos will be. Once you master these, you will have outstanding portraits to show for it!

Remember, you want your pictures to tell a story. You want the viewer to feel an emotion when looking at your photographs.

Your challenge this week is to incorporate the steps above in your photographs. Tell us a story with your picture! Make sure you share your new portraits on the Facebook Page.

 ***  ***  ***  ***  ***


Did you miss a photography lesson? Don’t fret, our Photography Tutorial Library has everything you need.  

Ready to turn your digital images into photo books, calendars and more? Click here to see our weekly specials!