Five photography tips you’ll wish someone told you sooner

Jan 31, 2020

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Five photography tips you’ll wish someone told you sooner

Jan 31, 2020

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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There are plenty of tips and tricks that will help you get better shots. But here are five lesser known, yet amazing tricks for all portrait photographers out there. In this video, Miguel Quiles gives you five tips that will take your portraits to a whole new level. And once you try them out, you’ll wish someone told you about them sooner.

1. Use Continuous Drive mode

Most photographers use the Single Shot mode when taking portraits. However, the Continuous Drive mode could be a better idea. It lets you capture all the micro-transitions and subtle changes in the model’s face and thus catch the perfect moment on camera. You can pick the best shot when you’re back home at your computer. This is especially useful if you’re shooting portraits where perfect timing is crucial (like these milk and honey portraits, for example (nsfw links)).

2. Develop a poker face

Imagine taking a test shot of the model and displaying the image on your screen. You realize that you need different settings because the image is too dark, or you need to stand elsewhere to get a better composition. Your face shows that you’re not pleased with the image, but guess what – your model might think that it’s something about them.

As a photographer, you have to think about lots of things before, during and after the shoot. But while you’re taking photos, don’t let your doubts and negative thoughts show on your face. It could get your model discouraged and insecure and it will decrease your chance of getting the perfect shot.

3. Use the “eye chart” technique

Sometimes, the person you’re photographing can have an awkward “deer in the headlights” expression. To make the portraits look more natural, Miguel uses what he calls the “eye chart” technique. He asks his models to pretend that they’re looking at the eye chart at ophthalmologist. Looking down the imaginary chart makes the models squint their eyes a bit so they look more natural.

4. Tether as much as possible

Tethered shooting gives you a totally different insight into your work. It allows you to see your photos on a much larger screen than your camera’s LCD as you shoot them. This way, you’ll see more clearly if there’s anything that needs to be fixed, and you’ll be able to fix it immediately.

5. Let your model play a character

You can let your model play a character from a movie, for example. But even better, you can give them a hypothetical situation and have them play a role within it. This way, you’ll get to capture exactly the expressions you want.

I’d like to add that playing a character can make your model more relaxed and make the shoot mode fun for them. I’m saying this from experience because this is what I do when taking self-portraits or speaking in front of the camera. It makes things less awkward and I have much more fun if I imagine that I’m playing a role.

What do you think of these tips? Are you gonna try any of them for your next shoot? Or perhaps you already use them? Share your thoughts in the comments.

[5 MORE Portrait Photography HACKS You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner! |Miguel Quiles]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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18 responses to “Five photography tips you’ll wish someone told you sooner”

  1. Ali Mckellar Avatar
    Ali Mckellar

    Are we calling common-sense ‘hacks’ now?

    ‘Use continuous drive mode’, a.k.a spray and pray a.k.a throw enough shit at the wall and see what sticks!
    ‘Eye Chart Technique’ is clearly Peter Hurley’s ‘Squinch’ and he’s tried tried to make you think he came up with it.
    Tethering certainly has its place but to suggest doing it as much as possible just eats up valuable shooting time!
    #5 is the sort of thing that’s communicated with the model before you’ve even decided to work with them, you know, mood boards, ideas of the look you’re trying to capture etc.

    1. Miguel Quiles Avatar
      Miguel Quiles

      One day you’ll realize that common sense isn’t so common. ?✌️

    2. Miguel Quiles Avatar
      Miguel Quiles

      Ali Mckellar A few things. 1. No such thing as common sense. 2. Never said spray and pray, that is reckless. I’ll ignore the idea that you’re calling my work shit. 3. Never said I came up with the idea, just telling you how I approach things. PH didn’t come up with the idea, he just coined a phrase for what he saw (as did I). 4. Tethering has always been worth the minute it takes to set up for me. As with most thing in life, your results may vary. 5. You can say all that you want before a shoot, but nothing prepares you for that moment that you’re standing in front of the lights. Even pro models I’ve worked with have needed coaching to get them to break out of their rhythm and give something new and better. 6. Care to share your 5 non-common tips along with your body of work showing your mastery? I’d love to see it. ?

    3. Thomas Kneipp Avatar
      Thomas Kneipp

      Miguel Quiles Great video thanks for sharing!

    4. Ali Mckellar Avatar
      Ali Mckellar

      Absolutely nowhere did I call your work shit! I would love for you to quote me where I said that! Given that you started out with ‘no such thing as common sense’ explains a great deal. I also didn’t say that Peter came up with the technique but you’ve just proven my point. I didn’t say models don’t need coaching, again, this is just common sense to tell the model what look you’re going for and how to achieve it, I actually really like the whole role playing aspect as you put it but in fairness your ‘model’ should be role playing, that is their one job. I wasn’t bashing this ‘technique’ it is simply something to use when your model doesn’t know what to do.

    5. Miguel Quiles Avatar
      Miguel Quiles

      Ali Mckellar I think you should attend a photo competition one day. You’ll be surprised how uncommon “common sense” truly is, especially for those starting out. From the sound of all of your comments, it would seem your portrait work should be on another level. Care to share your Instagram feed so we can all learn a thing or two?

  2. Carter Tune Avatar
    Carter Tune

    I think this crap article is proof they’re completely out of ideas.

    1. Miguel Quiles Avatar
      Miguel Quiles

      Perhaps you can lend me some then? ?

    2. Miguel Quiles Avatar
      Miguel Quiles

      Carter Tune Tell me more ?

  3. Mike Avatar
    Mike

    I like the article Miguel, thanks for posting. Nobody made these other guys watch your video. Perhaps you ought to make a video on how to click away from a video if it’s not for you :)

  4. JustChristoph Avatar
    JustChristoph

    These are not 5 photography tips. They are 5 tips on working with models. I’m sure I can come up with 5 decently useful tips if you’re interested in an article.

    1. Miguel Quiles Avatar
      Miguel Quiles

      As Razor Ramon would once say, “Don’t sing it, bring it!” lol

  5. nacezavrl Avatar
    nacezavrl

    Miguel Quiles,continious mode while using flash?

    1. Miguel Quiles Avatar
      Miguel Quiles

      Yes indeed! The Profoto D2 allows you to shoot up to 20fps :)

      1. Alexander DiMauro Avatar
        Alexander DiMauro

        Ok, so basically we all have to be able to afford the most expensive lights then? This won’t work for a majority of people and is precisely the reason why I never use continuous.

        1. Miguel Quiles Avatar
          Miguel Quiles

          Last time I looked, shooting with continuous drive mode using available light looks great and is super affordable ?

  6. Alexander DiMauro Avatar
    Alexander DiMauro

    #1 – I agree that continuous drive mode is great for the situation you showed in the video, pouring the liquid. But the majority of us can’t afford the expensive strobes required to shoot continuous.
    #2 – Yes. Occasionally I catch myself making a face and I’m quick to say ‘my mistake’ or something like that. Even if it wasn’t my mistake, I’ll just say something like “that was great. Maybe let’s try it this way, too…” Keep them relaxed and confident.
    #3 – I work mostly with kids. I have them do silly faces, it totally relaxes them. Then the portraits after that moment come out better. May not work so well with adults!
    #4 – I shoot outdoors. Tethering is not possible. Don’t want to lug around a computer to outdoor shoots when we are walking around and changing the location every 10-15 minutes. Also time is usually too limited to spend looking at all the shots. Not to mention my computer would get totally trashed outdoors.
    #5 – See #3. Lol! Once again, with kids letting them act silly really helps bring out their personalities. I guess that’s sort of similar as letting them play a character?

  7. Scott McDonald Avatar
    Scott McDonald

    Thanks for the video Miguel…not everyone reading an article or watching a video like this is an “expert” in the field and should already know these suggestions…as may be implied by some of the comments posted here. The Internet breeds “Armchair Warriors”…but, I do appreciate your efforts to share.