Smile naturally and look great on camera
Smiles. Art direct your models. I love happy-faced model photographs. Some people are challenged to pose with a natural-looking smile. Ask them to practice with some selfies at home before you shoot together.
Facial Expressions. Have your models smile big with and without teeth showing. Have them try to pose happily with a smile, and their eyes open, directed away, up and down. Try a few happy shots with their eyes closed. Have them pose in a variety of facial expressions from happy and serious to sad and excited.
Pose Positions. It is important to pose your models from at least three different angles. Have your model turn sideways to look over one shoulder, then the other, before facing square on to the camera.
Body Expressions. Look up creative body language and pose ideas on the Internet. Cut out preferred poses from magazines and print out potential poses you find on the Internet to use as a reference for you and your models.
Eye Expressions Are Essential. Try having your models look off to each side, up, down, and with their eyes closed, besides looking straight into the camera.
Wardrobe. Solid colors are always the best. Black can be slimming for your models. Avoid stripes and plaids. Avoid excessively loud and large jewelry. Try at least 3 different outfits for each portrait shoot.
Hair & Makeup. This is extremely important. Make sure your female models have makeup to further accentuate their facial portrait imagery.
Backgrounds. Try shooting both indoors and outdoors. Use a variety of wall textures, bright solid colors, and interesting background options. Poses can be in front of a very old rustic door or a beautiful field of sunflowers.
Props. Ask your models to bring a few props, like flowers, balloons, flags, a small pet, or a few of their favorite items for a few extra poses.
Creative Lighting. Use a flash indoors or outdoors. Never have strong light like a sunrise, sunset or window behind the model, unless you are using a fill flash. Try some Renaissance lighting with a darker room and only one light tightly directed towards their face. Try using romantic candles.
More Is Better. I always shoot as many extra photos (dozens or hundreds) as possible.
Art Direction. Have a plan. Don’t just have the model stand there in front of you – telling them to smile, while you randomly take a few quick candid snapshots. Be prepared by using these basic tips and researching other creative ideas.
Post Shoot Creativity. Try turning your traditional portrait photos into fine art photography by posterizing and adding some creative special effects with your computer.