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My 4 Tricks to Creating Memorable Portraits


Exciting news!  For the next 5 weeks (basically the month of May), I’ll be posting a photography themed post ever Friday.  Let’s call this series Did I Shutter “DIS”.  We’ll start off with my tricks to creating memorable portraits.

In today’s world, anyone can be a photographer.  We’re all walking around with cameras in our pockets and devices that have access to hundreds of photo editing apps.  Smartphones and apps like Instagram and Afterlight have made it SO easy for the “every-day” person to create incredible photographs.

The iPhone was just becoming a thing when I became seriously interested in photography, so before I  had the chance to grow my skills on my rink-a-dink iPhone, I was the proud owner of a Canon Rebel.  And this is where it all began.  Flashforward 9 years later and here I am, now the proud owner of a Canon 5d Mark ii, and running my own, successful portrait photography business… and I’m LOVING every minute of it!  But it’s not always easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.  I really have to work my butt of at creating kickass portraits.  So, how do I keep the clients coming and the people oohing and ahhing every time I post my latest session?


There’s photographers that are killer at taking those ultra-moody and glam portraits, and then there’s photographers like me, who thrive on getting their clients to laugh, let loose, and have the best time.  How do I do it?  I say something funny.  I make them feel comfortable.  And maybe sometimes I make them feel weird and ask them to fake laugh, which ultimately, turns into us both laughing hysterically and bam…magic.  Don’t get me wrong, I can do moody portraits, but happy is my jam.  There’s just something so powerful about laughter.  Even seeing a photograph of someone else genuinely happy can make you smile.


Free-lensing is a technique used to create dreamy photographs with an insanely gorgeous depth of field.  Basically, all you do is make sure your subject is in focus, detach your lens from your camera and snap away.  I’ve been using this technique for yeeeeaaars and I truly believe it is one of the most recognizable aspects of my work.  Many photographers know how to use this technique, but are afraid to because it can be risky.  Dust and dirt can collect inside your camera and you risk the chance of your subject being out of focus, but with my years of practice and the fact that I shoot rapidly, I always manage to capture the perfect image.


Well, duh.  I’m sure just about every photographer will emphasize just how important light is when creating a good quality image.  That’s because it is!  And I neverrrrr like to take a photograph in bad lighting.  No way, sister.  Especially as a natural light photographer, I have an eye for finding the prettiest light.


When it comes down to it, the best way to create memorable portraits is by coaching your client on how to show off who they are, what they love, and what they do.  This takes time.  I always like to get to know my clients before photo shoot day.  I ask them lots of questions and together we brainstorm fun props and shooting locations.  The end result is always photos that are brim-full of personality.

Now, just because I’m super curious, what would you most likely hire a portrait photographer for?  Family portraits?  Engagement portraits?  Professional head shots?  Brand photos?  Let me know in the comments below!