Improve Your Portrait Photography for Beginners

Let’s unpack it together in this photography tutorial.

Master portrait photography for beginners in this video tutorial

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Beginner Portrait Photography Tips

Learn how to Master Portrait Photography with these 5 Tips

Want to improve your portrait photography, or just starting out and want to learn the basics?

Mastering any specific photography takes a lot of learning and practice, and the same goes for portrait photography. There are many different elements and factors to consider in taking portraits. Not as easy as just point and click to get amazing portrait shots.

In this video tutorial, Teppo Haajopa shares his top 5 beginner composition tips for portrait photography.


How to take Amazing Portraits for Beginners


Compositional Tips to Master Portraits

When shooting portraits you have 2 main elements to consider, the subject and the background.

It’s common during portrait shots to go into these with some nerves with new locations and new subjects all the time. 

You might be tempted to just jump straight into taking photos before fulling taking in your scene because you are feeling uncomfortable.

Mix that with focusing so much on the person you are taking photos of and all the elements that go into making them look just right. Like getting the lighting perfect and everything positioned well, you might lose sight in the moment of the other main element – the background. 

These tips can help you become a better photographer by helping you to know what to look for and to get more out of your backgrounds!

Portrait photography for beginners

Improve Your Portrait Photography Tip #1 – Rule of 3rds

Imagine a grid across your scene that has 2 vertical lines and 2 horizontal lines evenly spaced from each there. These lines would create 9 smaller rectangles. The center rectangle’s corners would become the 4 intersection points of these lines.

Turning on the grid feature on your camera can give you this visual to help better find these points 

The goal of this rule is to aim the main focal point of your subject onto one of these intersection points. Because this is portrait photography, you will best use this effect by placing the face of your subject in one of these points. 

Using this tip will help you to get nice balanced photos. Getting the subject’s face and more specifically their eyes into one of these interaction points grabs the attention of the viewer right to where you want them to look – the face of your subject. 

Portrait photography rule of 3rds


Improve Your Portrait Photography Tip #2 – Framing

Framing in photography is about the composition of your photo. Both in choosing what to include in the photo from your scene and also in using what is there to draw attention where you want it to go.

You want to utilise framing to try to isolate the subject and help them to really stick out more.

Any background elements can be used for framing, like doorposts, trees, fences, etc. You can pretty much use anything in your scene to achieve this, so get creative and put your backgrounds to work!

Portrait photography leading lines create nice visuals


Improve Your Portrait Photography Tip #3 – Leading Lines

The concept of leading lines is all using the elements of your scene that form lines in the photo that can be used to lead the attention of the viewer to where you want it to go.

On your shoot, you want to be looking for lines that exist in your scene that lead your eyes, and then you want to place your subject where those lines are leading. 

Leading lines draw the eye of the viewer, so compose the background of your scene to place these well.

Leading lines make great compositions in portrait photography


Improve Your Portrait Photography Tip #4 – Symmetry 

Symmetry is another great tool in the compositional tool belt. It is a great way to have balanced feeling photos that continue to help draw focus to a central point. 

The goal here is to look for places in your scene where the background feels the same or similar on both sides, and then you want to place your subject right in the middle.

Symmetry makes the photo feel balanced and even in the elements added, so your subject can be the main focus.

Symmetry in portrait photography


Improve Your Portrait Photography Tip #5 – Negative Space

Negative space comes at this idea of composition from a completely different angle. 

Instead of using noticeable elements in the background to your advantage in drawing and leading attention, the goal here is to try to not have or minimise elements of the background in general.

Negative space is all about giving better definition and focus to a subject by removing clutter and distraction around the subject. 

This is a minimalist approach to composition that can be very effective in portrait photography.

Use negative space to improve your portrait photography


Portrait photography requires thought of composition and elements to make them amazing.

Practice these composition tips to really master great portrait photos. As long as you think about the space, framing, lines, symmetry and 3rds, you can compose some awesome portraits.

Want to improve your photography skills overall? Check out this comprehensive guide!


Which of these portrait photography tips will you try out TODAY?

Comment below!



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