Tag: Capturing Personality In Portrait Photography – Tips

August 12, 2020
How to Capture Personality in Portrait Photography - Tips

We all faced the struggle of not being able to capture personality in portrait photography. There is always something that makes the picture not appealing. Whether it is the pose, the face impression, the background, or something else. And we have to retake the photo again and again until we take the best one.

Sometimes it may take a couple of hours to capture the right picture, which is both beautiful and unique. Most of the time, the problem of failed photos is the wrong direction of the whole process. That is why even the most beautiful model can seem unattractive in the picture. But there is a solution to anything.

As a headshot photographer in Los Angeles, I take many photos of different people. Through my working years, I understood that there are a couple of aspects that make the photoshoot great. One of the most important things that a headshot photographer in Los Angeles should do is to make sure that the model is confident. If they feel comfortable in front of the camera, you can be sure that the process will be successful. Try to motivate them, and after every shot, give them proper directions. This will help them to become better after each shot, and together you will create great results.

In the article, I will provide you the most helpful and essential portrait photography tips so that you can take magnificent portraits. Even if you are not a professional, you will be able to take control of the camera in a short time. As the photography rates in Los Angeles can be high sometimes, your skills can be useful for your friends. And I am sure you will amaze your friends and relatives with your skills. 

How to Capture Personality in the Pictures

When the camera is in your hands, you have to take responsibility and direct the whole process. Everyone wants to have a unique photo. And one of the ways to do that is to capture the model’s personality. So the idea is not only to take a picture but to show the real emotions, expressions, and movements. You need to be informed of all the features of your camera in advance. Also, examine the location thoroughly, so that you know all the beautiful angles. And continuously work and direct your model. Without it, your pictures will look the same, and not attractive. Below, you will find a couple of the most famous portrait photography tips to capture the model’s personality in pictures. Before continuing this article, I recommend you to read about seven tips on corporate headshots. If you are interested in photography, it will be very informative for you.

Capture the Movement

Movements are always beautiful in the photos if the photographer knows how to capture them. In the beginning, you can give ideas to your model on how to move. For example, they can move their hands, play with their hair, or just walk. You will be able to take in between shots and hence capture candid moments. Step-by-step your model will come up with ideas and work with the camera more comfortably. Another way to create a movement is to use some objects. For example, the model can take a specific object in the hands, and play with it. 

A great tool to create movement in the picture is to use music during the photoshoot. You can ask for the model’s favorite music, and then turn it on. They will enjoy music and even start dancing under it. Hence you can use the moment and take pictures of their beautiful movements. I recommend you create the playlist in advance so that you won’t waste time on that during the photo shoot.

Capture the Laughter

Of course, if you tell your model to laugh in the middle of the photoshoot, it will be awkward. The pictures will feel made-up and not attractive. So if you want to capture laughter, you have to create it naturally. While taking photos, you can tell funny stories or describe situations. You can even tell something funny about yourself or your previous experience. In this way, you will create a fun and happy environment, and models may also tell funny stories. You can even generate laughter from their poses. For example, tell them about an occasion that happened when someone did such a pose. 

Remember that laughter pictures are beautiful when it is made candidly. Don’t just tell your models to laugh. This will make them feel uncomfortable. So at first try to create an appropriate atmosphere, and then help your model to laugh. Such pictures are the most beautiful and appealing. 

Find the Best Angles 

I am sure each of us has the desired angle for pictures. The job of each professional photographer is to find those angles. Usually, models may tell you which are their favorite angles at the beginning of the photoshoot. You need to understand the purpose and the desired outcome of the picture. If the model wants a picture where the face is in the primary focus, pay more attention to it. You should work with light and shadows to capture the best photos. If you find the right angle, it will be easier for you to catch the light. 

Always direct your model, and be communicative with them. For example, you can ask them to move their head towards the sun or change a pose. Also, this will help them to know their best angles and become informed of the future. As a headshot photographer, I may take a couple of photos and then catch the best angles. Don’t stick to one place and always move. Sometimes, to capture the perfect picture, you may need to stand in very uncomfortable poses. But believe me, the result is still worth it. 

Follow the Body Language

Every person has a body language which makes us unique. One of the biggest jobs of the photographer is to work with the model’s body language. This is one of the main ways to capture someone’s personality. I believe that every picture has a specific message, and body language plays a massive role in delivering the message. As a headshot photographer in Los Angeles, I highly recommend you to read about body language. You will find out a lot of useful information. For example, for portraits, people sometimes use the pose of crossed hands. It may help you look more professional, and the model can use the photo on Linkedin, for example. It may also help the model to control the hands and feel comfortable. There are a lot of small details which can help your pictures become beautiful and appealing. 

Create an Atmosphere

To make your photos even more appealing, you can create a unique atmosphere. For example, if you want to make retro-themed photoshoot, then use decorations for creating the mood. And in that case, the model will become part of the scene, making it easier for them to pose. If you want them to seem happy or thoughtful, then ask them to imagine a scene. Don’t just ask them to smile or look serious. This will help your pictures to be natural. As a headshot photographer in Los Angeles who takes affordable headshots, I always try to create beautiful scenes. For every photographer, it is essential to have a lot of room for creativity. And hence use every moment of the photoshoot to show your creativity and use it in the process. 

Tools for Editing Portrait Pictures

Now it is time for some touch-up. After creating some great pictures, you should use tools to edit your photographs. Every photographer edits the photos for a better result. For example, you may cut something from the picture, or blur some little detail. Even if you haven’t done this before, you will quickly learn how to do that. There are many applications with hundreds of useful tools. It is important not to overuse the editing tools so that your pictures look natural. Sometimes people may edit too much, and in the end, the client may not be satisfied. Everything is beautiful when you do it in the right amount. Below I will give you some tips on how to edit. 

Clear Complexion

There are great tools that help to erase some undesired blemishes that every photo may have. For example, you may feel the need to delete some wrinkles or any imperfections. Sometimes models ask to correct some little part of the photo. For instance, models usually ask to erase the dark circles and make the look more awake. And you, as a photographer, can take into account their wants. But don’t overuse this tool as it may make the picture unnatural. But I highly recommend you to keep the uniqueness of the model. For example, if they have a birthmark, then don’t erase it. Such things make the look of the model different from others. And these are part of the personality of your model. 

Define the Face with Contouring 

Usually, makeup artists define the face with the help of contouring. It became popular, especially in the last few years. And many people use this trick to define their faces. With the help of contouring, makeup artists create light, shadow, and define some parts of the face. But today, it is possible to contour the face also with editing tools. As every skin tone is different, you should be careful to pick the appropriate colors. As a headshot photographer, I use this tool in some cases. This is especially helpful when I want to add some extra definition on the face and help capture personality in portrait photography. It can be handy, especially for portrait photography.

Define the Eyes

Sometimes the expression in the eyes can tell a lot about a person. Eyes are part of someone’s personality, and they are transferring a lot of emotion. So especially in portrait photography, it is essential to define the eyes. Eyes should be noticeable enough and be one of the main focuses of the photo. As a headshot photographer in Los Angeles, I always pay attention to the eyes and try to enhance them. You can brighten the eyes and make them more awake. And even if the model didn’t sleep well at night, it will not be noticeable. So working with eyes can result in great photos. 

Whiten the Teeth 

This is a beneficial tool when the model is smiling in the picture. You can make the teeth of the model whiter, but at the same time, it will look very natural. But again, don’t overuse this tool. Just use the brush a little bit, and you will notice the better result immediately. I don’t always use this tool, but in some situations, it can be beneficial. Sometimes the clients ask the photographer to make their teeth whiter. But there are a lot of cases when the model has naturally white teeth, and this tool may not be useful. 


For every photographer, it is essential to talk with the model before the actual photoshoot starts. You should understand the needs of the model, and as a result, the work process will be smoother. Try to understand why they need pictures. For example, are the photos for professional needs or just for social media. To have a great result, you should explore the location, pick the best time of the day, etc. I recommend you choose the time of the golden hour because at that time the light is lovely. 

And remember that to become a master photographer, you should practice a lot. At first, the photos may not be the way you want. And of course, it is normal. After a short time, you will notice how each next picture becomes better than the previous one. In the beginning, arrange photoshoots for your friends and family, to master your skills. And then, after some time, you may start photographing clients. Enjoy the process and use these capturing personality in portrait photography tips to get the best photos.

What to read next: How To Get Professional Realtor Headshots in 2022. 

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