3 Tips for Taking Pictures of People

I took pictures of people other than my kids at my photography class last week! I was petrified, especially because I never met the models before the shoot. Totally unfamiliar people. I started off by over compensating and acting like a fool during the first 50-100 shots.  This guy (below) got the worst of it. 

As soon as he looked into my camera, I would giggle and say something stupid like, "Oh wow. Uh, teacher? What happens if you fall instantly in love with the subject?" Yeah, those kinds of questions, while silly, just made it worse for me.  The thing is, I've never concentrated on a man's eyes so intensely besides my husband's. It felt so intimate in my camera lens, but totally wasn't, of course. He was modeling! Ha. It was all very new to me and at this point, I wanted to go home. But I learned my first lesson regardless:  

Tip #1 When Shooting People: 
Flatter your subject, but don't profess you love for the model. 
Especially if you're a happily married woman! 

I decided to move onto the next set of models (below). I don't think I could have ask for a more willing or beautiful couple to shoot. Still, I wasn't feeling comfortable. As gorgeous as they are in real life, it's a lot of responsibility to make them look as good on camera. They were trying so hard to be accommodating, I was trying so hard to move my F/stop and shutter speeds gracefully without a confused look on my face. I was still doubting myself and doing a lot of nervous laughing. But I was getting better and learned my second lesson:

Tip #2 When Shooting People: 
It will get better for everyone ten minutes into the shoot.
And then, right as we were going to lose all our light, I started taking pictures of this beautiful woman who is due any day. She's a dancer at Julliard with grace and style. It's she lovely? When I got to her, I finally stopped worrying if every setting in my camera was perfect. It wasn't, of course, but I realized it didn't have to be. I'm a newbie after all. Sometimes I go into situations with unrealistic expectations. I'm not a professional photographer and I don't really think I want to be one. There's still that part of me that wants to do everything well (perfectionists unite!) and then my nerves get the best of me.  As soon as I started just having fun with it, however, that's when I get the best results. 

Tip #3 When Shooting People: 
Be Cool. 
That's the end of my photography class. I learned so much! What are your tips for taking photos of people?  


  1. When taking pics of little people, click fast:)lol
    p.s. Great pics!:)

  2. I've never taken my camera off manual, and I don't regret that. I DO regret missing some shots, but I'm becoming more and more comfortable with the settings that it seems like I look forward to blogging in part because of the pictures I get tot take!

  3. Ask your model to think of their favorite thing, you'll get the best expression.

  4. Focus on the eyes. Literally, I mean.

    And fake it - act relaxed and they will feel that vibe and relax too.

    When I first started reading this post I thought you were taking photos like the blog Humans in New York! In other words, asking complete strangers if you could take their photo. That is something I want to get enough nerve to do. I've done the furtive, secret portrait on the fly but I'd like to be more deliberate about it.

  5. Glad you're expanding your skills, always keep learning and trying. I like the couples shoot.

  6. Uuuuh, I like learning all this stuff!

  7. You crack me up with that guy, Sharon. I love the pictures you took of the mom-to-be. Sometimes pregnant pictures turn out corney but these are really serene and pretty. Great job!

  8. The one thing I learned from school is that with portrait shots, the subject's eyes should always be in focus, even if nothing else is. Eyes are one of the first things people look at in a photo, and they make the biggest impact when they're pin-point focused. And uh, yeah, don't flirt with your subjects ;)

  9. I agree with the other poster that said your photos of the dancer are serene and pretty. That being said, I think the picture you took of the group taking pictures of the couple is actually the most interesting. Nice work. I hope you continue to enjoy the process and not overly edit yourself before you even have a shot. The fun is in the moment and the experience which you as photographer are a part of.

    1. ha you're right! i like that shot the best too!!

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  12. So nice and beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing these emotions! Truly said I've seen the couple on first photo at best custom essay writing service reviews NYC some time ago. But picture in this article are so alive and real. I like it much more!


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