0474 221 444 tony@tjamesphoto.com

Below is part 1 of our 10 Great Portrait Photography tips! Portrait photography is all about the face and can be really intimate and feel a little obtrusive you aren’t used to being photographed. It is important to make sure you get the best out of your session by being prepared and taking away the stress. Most importantly is that when you work as a partner with your photographer the end result can be beautiful and produce a photo that really captures the real you.

Picture Day

Let’s start our 10 Great Portrait Photography Session tips with Picture day. Picture day is a day where kids wear their best clothes, parents spend a little extra time on their hair, and photographers hand out little plastic combs and picks. They stand or sit in front of a pre-chosen colored background and “say cheese!” Picture day used to be the best day for kids and that photo was going to be the photo that represented you in the yearbook as well as being framed on your parent’s wall and handed out to all of your friends. It was trying to keep your eyes open, praying you didn’t break out, and constantly being told to “sit up straight.”

alexandru in garden portrait photography
selecting the perfect outfit and soft tones

For the photographers, picture day is crazy. It’s photographing hundreds or thousands of kids in one day, keeping photos organized, and trying to connect with and capture every student. Photographers have relatively little time to bring out the personality of each child and capture the person they are.

Many people are uncomfortable getting their picture taken and children are no different. Little kids have a hard time sitting still or having the patience for picture day, and older kids tend to be a self-conscience bunch in general. So picture day photographers want their subjects to remember to keep their chin down, be comfortable, and dress in something they are themselves in.

Great Portrait Photography, Family Photos

Family portraits are great for families documenting a point in their lives and capturing family dynamic at any given point, which can change quickly if it’s a family with children. These portrait sessions take a piece of time in a family’s life and documents it.

Portrait photography is generally about taking close up and intimate photos of the face, and with family portraits the term is a little looser as it can be difficult to focus on close up shots of more than a few people. Photographers aren’t just capturing the intimacies of one person’s face and personality, but a few people’s personalities including the family personality as a whole.

jakob with wife and child walking
Tony James Photography, more fun when all the family is involved

For photographers, each person’s personality and unique qualities is a treat to photograph. It’s best when subjects feel free to interact as those tend to be the best photos. Photographers would love their subjects to ask for posing advice if they are nervous, trust their photographer, and to feel open to candid photos that occur naturally.

The key is for subjects to be comfortable and be themselves; it’s a lot more difficult to capture a family’s personality if they are just posing and nervous about what they will look like. Let kids be kids, laugh at each other, go with the flow, and your photographer will do the rest.

Great Portrait Photography Headshots

One of the areas where Great Portrait Photography tips is most important is when your face is the total subject. Headshots are basically like picture day for adults. Headshots can be used for work purposes on company websites or social media platforms, or for models and actors. These are generally very simple, posed photographs so that you are recognizable to prospective employers and clients.

The idea is to be professional, smile, and exude warmth and friendliness, in most cases. For business headshots especially, you just need to be happy and professional. For actors and models, it’s the first time a prospective employer will see your face. It should show your personality, beauty, and ability to pose for a camera.

Mikela's beautiful portrait image with wooden hat
After all a Tony James Portrait is all about you!

Since this is basically adult picture day, a lot of the same rules apply. Subjects should remain relaxed and confident, and wear something that they are comfortable in but looks professional. Photographers know their subjects angles and can aid in the best posing and lighting, so they should trust their photographer. And of course, focus all of your energy into remaining confident in the shoot because it will show through in the photograph.


Experienced models know their way around posing in front of a camera, and new models are already ahead of the game with their willingness to be in front of a camera confidently. There is definitely a big difference for photographers when they are shooting a portrait for others or for a model, not only in the type of shoot they are getting, but also the subjects attitude in front of the camera and the creative possibilities of the shoot.

great portrait photography
Timeless beauty makes for mesmerising great portrait photography

Models already have the confidence and ease in front of a camera that creates great photographs, but they also understand the subtlety in portrait photography; a slight raise in the eyebrow, the shift of the eyes, a turn of the head, or upturned lips.

What photographers want in a great beauty model is a connection and flow between model and photographer. They want their subject to be able to take direction, understand their lighting, and understand the importance in expression. It’s all in the eyes, in the expression, in the emotion you are exuding, and photographers love it when a model can portray these things to the camera. Remember that the shot is usually focused on the model’s face, but don’t be afraid to pose with the whole body. Remember the purpose behind the shoot and work to highlight it, ask your photographer for direction, and connect with the camera.

https://tjamesphoto.com/portrait-boudior/Portrait shoots are different than other shoots in that it is incredibly honest and intimate photography. There aren’t a ton of extras to hide behind, and the subject’s emotion takes hold of the viewer. A great photographer can make a portrait into something that captures the essence of the subject. Photographers want their subjects to know that their photo means a lot to them too and they will do their best to make sure you look great.