3 Key Tips for Getting Started With Portrait Photography

Kaila Mathis

CLLCTVE hosted CLLCTVE University: The Ultimate Creator Accelerator for 10 Weeks of Spring 2021. Each week came with its own upskilling workshop hosted by a CLLCTVE Creator.

Christina La, Senior Advertising Major at San Diego State University, hosted her workshop on How to start out in portrait photography: tips and tricks for building your portfolio.

“I‘m excited to give advice on gear and key points to being a good portrait photographer, creating presets and upgrading your workflow, how to scout locations, brainstorming for shoots and Pinterest mood boards, building your social media and how to increase engagement for your photography,” said Christina.

Christina gave 3 key tips that summarize her advice for getting started with portrait photography.

3 Key Tips for Getting Started With Portrait Photography

1. Connect with your model(s) before the photoshoot.

“Discuss the nitty-gritty and details with your client or person you’re collaborating with to understand what you both want out of the photoshoot. For clients, make sure to understand what they’re looking for in their pictures so that you’re prepared before the shoot, so no time is wasted! Also, understanding their chemistry and finding out what they are and are not comfortable with will help you in the long run and avoid any awkward confrontation or discussions.

2. Create mood boards and Pinterest boards for creative blocks and inspiration.

“Once I have an idea of what the photoshoot will be after meeting with the person I’ll be taking a picture of, I’ll go to my drawing board (AKA Pinterest). I will create a board and search up keywords that match the aesthetic that the photo shoot will be. This can range from outfits, poses, and similar locations I can find in my area. Not only did this help with organization and truly getting all the detail, it helped me practice to pose my subjects better. I wouldn’t blank out trying to figure out how to pose the person anymore, either. It is better off you posing your own subject than them trying to figure it out on their own.

3. Gear is not EVERYTHING.

“We have this idea in our head that to be good in portrait photography or any photography, in general, has to be taken on expensive camera gear. Your eyes and mind are what creates the art pieces. I have been using a camera I’ve had since I was 16. I’ve produced images that have looked completely different and you would think I had upgraded my camera. Photography is a craft you learn over time and bouncing back from your mistakes is what makes you a good photographer. As long as you have achieved what you’re looking for, that’s all it matters.”

Kaila Mathis
Kaila graduated from Villanova University in 2021 with a B.A. in PR & Advertising and Journalism, with a minor in Spanish. She is now the Growth Manager at CLLCTVE and a Freelance Writer for Adweek.
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