6 Tricks to Take Your Portraits to the Next Level


Happy Wednesday! If you’ve been following along on the blog, you know as well as I do that there is hardly any consistency here, and I want that to change! So, you can look forward to a new blog post every Wednesday, whether it be sharing a recent session I’m obsessed with, or some tips and tricks from me! I learned so much (and am still learning) from these kinds of blog posts and/or youtube videos, and I want to be generous in sharing my knowledge. Let’s get into it! This week I am talking about how to make your portraiture a little more interesting, and step up your game in these really simple ways. I’ve got 6 tricks for you, and they’re so easy to remember, so you’ll be revved and ready to knock out your next shoot! Featuring a couple of fun shoots I did recently with my sister Jo and one of my best friends Celeste (love you guys 4evr)

1. Add Movement

One simple way to take your photos from blah to WOW is to add in some movement. This can be as basic as having your subject walk through your frame, or as extra as having them kick their legs in the air and swing their arms around (note: this will attract eyes in a public place. do not mind them, because your photos will be worth the short period of people thinking you and your model are actually crazy.


2. Switch Up Your Angle

Shooting your subject straight on or at the same level for an hour is going to give you pretty good images. But who wants a hundred pretty good images?! NOT ME! I love experimenting with low angles especially, I’ve been doing some funky stuff with my 35mm. It results in a very modelesque, high fashion type look and it’s great adding those types of artistic photos to a regular senior or couples session. Additionally, if your location has something really great like lights or a gorgeous sky, this way you can capture your subject and your background in a more interesting way.

3. “Where Do I Put My Hands?”

Ah, the age old question. I think hands can be such a huge part in storytelling images, so really think out of the box! Have your subject touch their cheek, then toss their arm over their head to touch the other cheek. Use old trendy things like the peace sign over your eye and make it fashion (lol see below). Emphasize things people do naturally, like playing with their fingers or tucking hair behind their ear.


4. Utilize Reflections

I love incorporating this technique in my portraiture, and it’s so easy because all I need to accomplish it is my phone. I also have a small mirror I’ll bring sometimes as well, but if I’m travelling particularly light, my phone works like a charm. All you need to do is hold your phone flat perpendicular to your lens, and move it slowly until your subject or something in the foreground starts to reflect into the image. This has a sort of double exposure effect without actually being a double exposure, and it gives you a little more control as you can move your phone around the lens to place the reflection in the desired spot.

This is another chance for you to really use your location to it’s fullest ability, like how I used the reflection in the glass door for this image of Celeste.

This is another chance for you to really use your location to it’s fullest ability, like how I used the reflection in the glass door for this image of Celeste.

5. Connect With Your Subject

This is really important for any shoot, and is probably the best tip out of them all. Connecting with your client and genuinely getting to know them, what makes them laugh and smile is the best way for them to feel more comfortable. Comfortable > confidence > better more genuine photos. Ask them their favorite tv shows, their favorite place to eat, or what they like to do for fun. It’s like speed dating but friend version, and it’s way easier to move around with someone who can make ‘Friends’ jokes with you rather than a total stranger who doesn’t care.

6. Draw Inspiration From Different Channels

If you’re only looking at your regular Pinterest or Instagram feed for new ideas, are they really sparking anything “new” for you? I find I can get the most creative shots when I either disconnect from the internet all together, or at least move away from social media and look elsewhere. I love looking up older portraiture from Vouge, classic film photographers, etc. It gets me away from current trends (which are secretly a creative trap) and thinking up different compositions and poses. I love trying out really weird, model poses from high end magazines, they get my creative brain racing!


Thanks for reading along, I hope you enjoyed this post and found it helpful, and got you dreaming up new ideas for your next portrait session! Let me know what you think about these tips in the comments, and drop any other tips or tricks you want to share! I would love this to be a #communityovercompetition space.

See you next Wednesday!


If you’re looking for creative photos for YOU, shoot me a message. Let’s make some magic! I’d love to work with you.