CAPTURE THE MOMENT

PHOTO TIPS FOR PORTRAITS

Want to photograph your family during the holidays? Or capture quality images of your daughter in her graduation gown? Taking a great portrait isn't tricky. For tips on snapping portraits of just one person or a big group, keep reading.

REMEMBER THE RULE

Instead of centering your subject in the middle of the frame, try placing them off to the side. The rule of thirds helps you take more interesting shots if you compose your subject on one-third of the shot and allow the background to cover the remaining two-thirds. Check your DSLR's settings for grid view so you can easily make every shot better.

Camera viewfinder, person on the beach

MAKE THE MOST OF GOLDEN HOUR

Golden hour is the time right after sunrise or just before sunset, when the sky is filled with incredible, warm colors. Just like a professional photographer does, take advantage of these softer, warmer tones to make landscapes and people look great.

Kayakers

TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT

For weddings or parties, it's time to try something new and creative. Take portraits with everyone looking away from the camera, everyone making a goofy face, holding silly props, etc. You'll be pleasantly surprised how a funny photo can end up being the best shot of the day.

Wedding party

GO WIDE

Remember that a wide-angle lens captures a group shot without forcing everyone to crowd uncomfortably together. However, don't let the group get too spread out as people on the edges could end up looking a bit distorted.

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Graduates

GET MOVING

Instead of staging every shot with your subjects standing or sitting perfectly still, move around — both you, the photographer, as well as the people in your portraits. Shooting from different angles helps capture people genuinely interacting.

Wedding dance

LOOK FOR THE LITTLE MOMENTS

Instead of focusing on a typical group portrait at an event, think about the small, close-up moments that are also part of the night. For example, instead of photographing the dinner party, capture images like the guests arriving and the host uncorking the wine bottle just before dinner. Set your DSLR to burst mode to capture a series of these more specific mini portraits to tell your story.

Close up shots of wine pouring

SOAK UP SEMI-SUNNY SKIES

Many people think that direct sunlight is the best lighting for photos. However, semi-shaded or even overcast days offer the best portrait lighting. And if your day is met with brighter skies, you can always experiment with a variety of filters to soften direct sunlight and improve image detail.

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Photos taken in sunlight and shade

HELP THEM GET IN THE MOMENT

Instead of making everyone smile, say "cheese," and stare directly into the camera, try this tip: Have your subjects turn their heads away from the camera and then tell them to quickly turn back to the camera and then smile. Asking subjects to look away and then back again often inspires genuine laughter — and better images.

People smiling