The Basics

Portrait photography comes in all shapes and sizes.  The broad subject of portrait photography can consist of traditional family and individual portraits, fashion, creative and often bizarre art images, and everything in between.  The type of portrait photography addressed in this book will be the more traditional style of portraiture, mainly used by the typical portrait or wedding photographer.  While traditional portraiture is the main theme, the principles conveyed in this guide can be used in most other types of portraits also.

While there are many aspects of professional portrait photography, only six basic principles will be covered here.  I believe these principles are part of what distinguishes the great portrait photographers from the average ones.  If you implement these six areas in your own portraits, your images will take a huge leap forward, not only in quality, but in beauty and aesthetic appeal.   The following basic principles are in no particular order of importance, but when used together can help an amateur portrait photographer create a professional-looking portrait.   This guide is not intended to be fully comprehensive, but rather an introduction to some of the techniques professional photographers use to create their portraits.

portrait lighting

Soft lighting for this bridal portrait came through a large glass door.

 The various pro portrait keys have been put in the form of an acronym: BASICS

Beautiful Light

Accurate Exposure

Simple Posing

Image Editing