Today I was teaching a photography class and we were looking at Portrait photography. I try to give my students as much information as I can about photographing people. I know that portrait photography is really popular and it can be a lot of fun, but it can also be quite scary.
You can have a model standing there in front of you. You have the camera and you are taking the photos, but do you know what you are doing? Do you know how to talk to the model or whoever is standing in front of you?
I have taught quite a few portrait classes now and it always amazes me how shy people are when they have someone in front of them to take photos of.
Some suggestions, spend time with the person you are taking photos of first. Have a coffee or cup of tea and just talk them, build a relationship with them. Never underestimate how important small talk is.
Remember when you are talking their photo that they need you to guide them. They can’t see what you are seeing, so they need you to tell them what to do. Try asking them to move or something. Change directions, or put their hands somewhere else.
Keep up the small talk, the more comfortable they feel with you the better the images that you get will be.
If you have trouble thinking of poses on the spot, then consider doing a list of poses before hand and just go through them. Many professional photographers use them.
Good luck with taking your portrait photographs.