If you get frustrated when taking photographs of people, then help is at hand — human beings are one of the most photographed subjects in the history of photography!
There is a literal TON of writing and study about the best ways to shoot people. Luckily, portraiture is a doddle and if you find it a challenge then you’ll also find a little bit of study very rewarding. You might find that your photographs improve too!
For me, a good portrait should say something about the person. If I can get a sense of their personality across then I feel my picture has been a success. The primary way to bring out someone’s personalitly quickly and naturaly is easy: talk to them! Ask your subject what they do; where are they going; are they interested in photography? Make a point of finding out about them as you ready your camera to take the shot. You may find out information that assists you in composing your photo.
When taking a portrait, the background should not distract from the subject, but rather accentuate them. I find some holiday photographs limiting because the shooter has included a background that’s far more interesting than the human subject. I tend to keep the background slightly de-focused. In other cases, the background can add a context to your subject — in this regard it will deserve to stand out more thoroughly.
If you take a picture of someone enjoying themselves or a picture of someone you love you’re likely to have a better photograph as a result. Some friends and family are also more forgiving if you’re getting to grips with a new camera than others. Take pictures of people who are patient and will let you have time to learn.
Learn how to work your camera. I want to do two kinds of portrait in the near-future. I want to shoot into the sun and use an on-board flash for fill and I want to shoot slow-synch night portraits. To do this I’m going to have to read my camera manual and do some practice first. Ultimately, I think my photography will benefit.
To recap: Talk to the subject, find out about them, and put them at ease. Choose a suitable background. Choose an appropriate subject. Learn how to operate your camera correctly.
Here are some of my favourite pictures of people: