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5 Tips To Radically Improve Your Portrait Photography

2/04/2024 Matt 0 Comments

Photographer Pete Coco shares his expertise in today's video, revealing five invaluable tips to transform your portrait photography instantly. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro, these tips will elevate your skills both in and out of the studio, providing a fresh perspective on capturing the essence of your subjects.

1. Have Your Subject Look Away from the Camera:

Pete Coco emphasizes the power of creating diverse emotions and moods by having your subject look away from the camera. While eye contact is undeniably impactful, directing the gaze elsewhere can evoke a range of feelings. The angle and expression of your subject's eyes can further enhance the visual narrative, allowing you to craft a complex and compelling story within your portrait.

2. Get Closer and Don't Be Afraid to Crop:

Avoid the common mistake of shooting distant portraits. Pete encourages photographers to get closer and embrace tight crops. A closely cropped portrait not only engages the viewer intimately but also adds a touch of uneasiness, drawing them into the subject's personal space. In the era of small screens, this approach ensures a stronger connection between the audience and the portrayed individual.

3. Experiment with Different Focal Lengths:

Challenge conventional wisdom about the "correct" focal lengths for portraiture. Pete Coco breaks the mold by advocating for the versatility of a 50mm lens. This lens allows you to create everything from half-length to extreme close-up portraits, providing unique distortion that can be visually pleasing. Additionally, wide-angle lenses open up opportunities for environmental portraits, offering a fresh perspective on storytelling.

4. Shoot Wide Open:

Pete's love for shooting wide open, using lenses with f/1.4 or wider apertures, stems from the belief that critical sharp focus should only be on the closest eye to the camera. This technique directs the viewer's attention to the most crucial element of the photo—the subject. By intentionally blurring elements like musical instruments in musician portraits, Pete adds depth and significance to the person behind the art.

5. Move Yourself Around:

Avoid the trap of staying in one spot during a photoshoot. Pete emphasizes the impact of simply moving to the left or right of your subject, instantly altering the lighting and creating a different atmosphere. This dynamic approach not only increases your chances of capturing a remarkable image but also adds variety to your subject's pose and expression.

Bonus Tip: Set Your Camera's Drive Mode to Continuous Low:

Pete Coco's bonus tip revolves around camera settings, specifically recommending continuous low drive mode for capturing nuanced expressions. This ensures that your camera shoots fast enough to capture every subtle emotion, providing a balance between the sluggishness of single-shot mode and the excessiveness of continuous high mode.

In conclusion, Pete Coco's tips are a treasure trove for anyone looking to enhance their portrait photography skills. Whether it's experimenting with focal lengths, adjusting camera settings, or embracing unconventional poses, these insights promise to take your portraits to new heights. Follow Pete's advice, and you'll be well on your way to capturing unforgettable moments in your photography journey.

Image and video via Pete Coco Photography | Website Instagram | If you want to take it to the NEXT level, check out my Exclusive Coaching Community: (Use Promo Code COCO2024 for a discount!)