I love creating portraits. There's something so satisfying about looking into a person's eyes and seeing honesty, curiosity, and openness.
But a good portrait isn't as simple as having a pleasing subject with a good expression. There are so many little decisions and minute details to think about, many of which a photographer must consider in quick succession. Sure, you can plan some of the details ahead of time, but when you're working with people (especially kids!), you have to create quickly.
I've been practicing with purpose for just over three years now. Session after session has given me a fairly lengthy checklist for portraiture. Thankfully, much of that checklist is now instinct. For one, I rarely think about my camera settings any more. I can look at the light, make a decently accurate guess, and fix my exposure within a few seconds.
However, camera settings are only the beginning. A while back, I wrote an article for Improve Photography with 55 tips for better portraits. That's right, there are at least 55 things I think about when creating a portrait. And this list doesn't cover everything! It's a great start, though.
Better yet, consider joining me for a private lesson. There's nothing like hands-on, individual feedback to take your photography to the next level.
I'll end with a quick story: yesterday I spoke to a local Girl Scout Troop about photography and owning a small business. I showed them prints, explained how to make a business plan, and gave them some tips for creating better photos. By the end of our talk, the girls were so excited to head out and create that before I could say, "Does anyone have any more questions?", they were off and running, finding details in the room, taking photos of each other, and ready to explore their new hobby.
The excitement in that room lifted me up for the rest of the day. And to have the parents say, "I think I'm going to have to hire you for a lesson!", well, what else could an educator ask for? I've spent more than half of my life honing my craft as a teacher. There's nothing like the moment when something clicks (pardon the pun) and a student says, "I get it!" To motivate someone to challenge themselves and discover something new, there's nothing like it.
For 2018, I gave myself a goal to spend more money on education than on photography gear. (So far, so good.) There's no better investment than education. Invest in yourself and join me today.