Portrait photography has boomed over the last couple of decades since photography went digital. As the cost of creating a photo has reduced to practically nothing, no longer are we content with just taking fun photos of our friends, we have to make portraits.
Shooting good portraits isn’t difficult, at least in principle, but there are a lot of common mistakes people make early on in their journey (and sometimes later in their journey). In this video, portrait photographer, Miguel Quiles talks about five of the most common mistakes he believes portrait photographers make and how you can fix them.
- Missing focus – Zoom into your images while you shoot to make sure that what you thought you focused on is what your camera actually focused on and is sharp. Don’t wait until you get home and see them on the monitor.
- Poor composition – Don’t make the viewer hunt around the image to try and figure out what the photo is about. Make it obvious.
- Photoshop gymnastics – If you have to spend hours on your image in post to try to “fix” it. Use these bad images (because that’s what they are) as a learning exercise to improve your lighting, styling or other issues with the actual photography so that you spend less time at the computer.
- Adding watermarks – I’m not getting into this debate. You can fight it out in the comments.
- Over retouching – This one almost feels like a plague, particularly on social media. Every day I see images that would’ve been absolutely amazing if they hadn’t been destroyed by bad retouching.
These aren’t the only mistakes I see portrait photographers making, especially newer portrait photographers. But these do cover some of the most common. Watch the full video for Miguel’s full thoughts on each of the topics.
Do you agree with Miguel? What other common portrait mistakes do you see people regularly making?