Tips for Teaching Portrait Photography

Portrait is one of the most popular forms of photography. Almost everyone (including yourself!) has a portrait photo taken by a professional, a friend or even your kids.

So why not teach the exciting skills in portrait photography to your students? If you’re already thinking of doing so, read on for helpful tips that you can apply in your photography courses:

1. Explore different kinds of portraits

Start off your photography class by asking your students a question. What do they think of when they hear about portrait photography?

Most would answer that it’s a picture of a person. That’s true but it’s not the only way to describe it. Since you’re teaching portrait photography, explore different kinds of portraits with your students.

There are animal portraits, group portraits and even faceless portraits. These are some of the topics that you can cover in your photography courses.

You’ll be helping your photography students to expand their knowledge. One of those kinds of portrait photography might become their niche.

2. Show why lighting matters

When you’re teaching nature photography to kids, light is a crucial element to teach. It’s the same for portrait photography. Lighting has a huge impact to the end result.

Thoroughly cover the topic of lighting with your students. In your photography course, show them how it can affect the intensity of a portrait picture.

It’s also good for your students to know that the source of a light helps to create mood and depth. Those elements contribute to producing a rich picture.

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3. Pay attention to details

Photography students need to pay attention to details in portrait photography. From framing to posing, every single detail will help to compose their picture.

Students should also be aware of their surrounding. Especially the background of their picture. Disturbance or unwanted objects could ruin what they’re trying to capture.

Make a point at how the details in their portrait photography can create an interesting result. Your students could figure out a particular detail in their picture that ends up as a part of their signature or style.

4. Encourage creativity

At the end of the day, creativity is what makes a portrait photo stands out. This is why you need to encourage creativity in your photography courses.

Allow students to try out different things. They could incorporate the photography trends in 2019 in their portrait or look through different sources for ideas. For instance, check out websites such as for inspirations or tutorials on Photoshop that will help to elevate portrait pictures.

If a student has a unique idea for something, help them to achieve it. Technical details matter but creativity will make a portrait memorable.

5. Know the subject’s personality and story

Don’t leave out your student’s subject when you’re teaching portrait photography. It’s important for students to know their subject’s personality.

Creating a connection can make the person they’re working with feel comfortable. When a subject is relaxed, they tend to open up about their story.

This will also help to make them look more natural during a shoot. It’s also a way to get more emotions into the picture.

In your photography course, you can challenge your students to capture a portrait that tells the story of the subject. They’ll find valuable lessons in this assignment which will improve their skills.

Remember to have fun when you’re teaching portrait photography in your course. It’s the best way for students to remember the important things they’re learning.

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