Breaking into Portrait Photography: A Beginner's Guide

Portrait photography is a sought-after skill in various sectors of the industry, including fashion, lifestyle, wedding, and commercial photography, plus much more. For aspiring photographers, venturing into portrait photography not only opens doors to many career paths but also enhances personal growth by improving communication and collaboration skills.

Coming to you from Mitch Lally, this insightful video provides practical advice for beginners on how to start a career in portrait photography, even without a portfolio. Lally emphasizes the importance of starting with friends and acquaintances to build a portfolio, moving on to working with real models to foster a more collaborative environment. He discusses the significance of reaching out to modeling agencies for development models or new faces, suggesting TFP (time for print) or test shoots as a cost-effective way to enhance portfolios for both photographers and models. Lally's approach demystifies the initial steps towards becoming a portrait photographer, highlighting the value of building relationships within the industry.

The video also delves into the necessity of clear, intentional planning for shoots through the use of mood boards and focusing resources on the shoot's concept rather than on equipment. Lally advocates for investing in aspects that contribute directly to the photo shoot's success, such as location, outfits, and professional services like makeup artists or stylists, rather than the latest camera gear. This prioritization underscores a crucial lesson for newcomers: the idea and execution of a photo shoot have a more profound impact on the outcome than the equipment used. This mindset shift from gear to creativity is vital for anyone looking to make a mark in the genre. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Lally.

If you would like to continue learning about the art of portraiture, be sure to check out our range of tutorials on the subject in the Fstoppers store.

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

Log in or register to post comments