Take Beautiful Portraits Anywhere | 3 Tips

Portraits can be taken anywhere.... no really.


In this iPhone snap (taken by the makeup artist) you can see the location wasn't anywhere scenic, and that there wasn't a "real" back drop. It was actually just a grey bed sheet!! I know, I know. So professional, right? But honestly, if you're taking close up portraits, just remember... It's not about gear or location, it's about position, and it's about light. (you can see an example HERE of a portrait taken on the modest of cameras)

How to take beautiful portraits anywhere, tips by Alexandria Whitefeather

In this case it was all natural light. We were on a covered patio and most of the light was coming from my left (you can see this in her eyes). I did use a white reflector on my right to give a little bounce back to her hair, but I didn't want the light to be completely even on both sides. 

As you may have gathered in a recent blog post, I am a huge proponent of portraits. Whether you're capturing a portrait professionally or of your sister on a family vacation, a good photograph of someone you love (or someone you find interesting) will undoubtedly live longer than you, and THAT is powerful. 


3 tips to take beautiful portraits anywhere:


1. Find the light.

Whether its natural or artificial. Light is what it's all about. Light can truly make or break an image, so try not to depend on post production. Editing the look of light will never feel quite the same as capturing it correctly in camera. 

How to take beautiful portraits anywhere, tips by Alexandria Whitefeather

2. Connect with your subject.

This one is just as *if not more* important then good light. 
Eyes don't lie. If you're subject is feeling nervous, or uncomfortable you're going to see it in their eyes. Give your subject a feeling of calm or happy (or whatever emotion you want to draw out) by talking to them. I generally give a scenario for someone to think about. Like, "imagine you're a *blank* in the *blank* finding *blank*..." It helps them get into "character" if you will, and forget their nervousness in the process. 

How to take beautiful portraits anywhere, tips by Alexandria Whitefeather

3. Play with composition. 

Whether it's with how you angle the shot, how you line things up, or how you fill the frame... PLAY!  Sometimes it means adding things in (like colors, patterns, and textures) and sometimes it's simply taking it all away. 

How to take beautiful portraits anywhere, tips by Alexandria Whitefeather

I hope you've found these tips helpful!

Just remember... light. connection. composition. You got this. 


Behind "the shot"

This is my good friend, Rebecca. She's a beautiful soul with a talent for music (find more HERE!), and we could laugh about pretty much anything when together. 

We had been talking about shooting a cover for her new EP 'Skyrocket'.
We planned it out and had a vision, but the journey to get there was anything but easy. When it comes to getting "the shot" it's a different story almost every time, and I thought sharing this story would be a great way to show that there really is so much behind a photograph.

© Alexandria Whitefeather

So, here is goes...

We pulled up to an abandoned building, and walked through (really) tall grass to get to an opening. We then climbed over a 6 foot wall and went up 5 flights of stairs, but the door to the roof was locked. So I ran down the stairs and ran up the zig zag of the ramp (it was a parking garage) to get to the roof and unlock the door. Right as we were about to get started, we noticed we were both COVERED in green stickers from the knees down (thanks, tall grass). There were so many on Becca that they made that yellow skirt look like it was in a bunched up knot to the side. Not the "flowing in the wind" look we were going for. It took about 25 minutes or so, but we finally got them off, and got started. Becca bravely stood on a kitchen stool. I would snap, wait for a gust of wind, then snap again. We moved to each edge of the roof to find the best light, and finally, we got the shot! It was messy and exhausting, but totally worth it. And the Thai food we gobbled down after, was very much well deserved. 

And yes, we laughed a lot. But it was mostly the "umm, how is this happening!?" kind. 

Also, I now want Thai food.