12 Tips for Stunning Portrait Photography

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Avoid wide-angle lenses

Wide-angle lenses can distort your subject and make them look strange (or overweight, if they’re near the edge of the frame). Unless you’re going for a surreal look, it’s best to avoid shooting portraits with lenses wider than 50 millimeters. One exception is when you’re shooting from a few yards back, which will help minimize distortion, and want to include the surrounding environment.

Use a reflector

Using a reflector is an easy way to lighten the shadows on your subject’s face. Like diffusers, they come in a variety of sizes and are made of material that’s stretched over a frame. Best of all, reflectors are cheap and easy to carry because they fold up into a disk. If you don’t want to purchase a reflector, you can get similar results using a whiteboard or aluminum foil.

In the photo on the right, the woman has very soft shadows on her face, even though she’s standing in the shade. By having an assistant hold a reflector at an angle below the subject, the photographer allows those shadows to disappear, and the subject’s face appears brighter. Notice how the light from the reflector illuminates the eyes and makes them sparkle.

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