Ep 344: Five portrait tips every photographer should know


Discover the five portrait tips every photographer should know. From composing, exposing, to white balance, connection and depth, you’ll find out key strategies and techniques to make your portraits stand out from the pack.

Gina and Valerie hope you enjoy the podcast.

Sign up to the newsletter for great tips and free Lightroom presets.

Join the dynamic Gold Membership in our Community which delivers monthly tutorials, live mastermind and lots of behind the scenes videos into the creative process.

Connect with us on Instagram @valeriekhoo @ginamilicia

Click play to listen to the podcast or find it on iTunes here. If you don’t use iTunes you can get the feed here, or listen to us on Stitcher radio.

ZERO TO HERO: New course for Gold Members

We’re so thrilled to bring this course a a free BONUS to Gold Members:

  • This course is designed for people with zero artificial lighting experience.
  • Many daylight photographers hate the look of flash because it looks too flashy/clinical
  • I’ll walk you through the steps to create lighting that looks natural and mimics daylight.
  • I’ve created this course to not just explain how to light a portrait but most importantly why to use a specific set up.
  • This lighting protocol will teach you a fail proof set of actions to create consistent results no matter what the available light is. 

Five portrait tips every photographer should know

1. Composing

There are 3 ways to take a portrait

  1. Point shoot and hope for the best- No thought or planning
  2. Careful planning
  3. Intuitively ( this happens with experience)
  • Give them looking room
  • Place your model ⅓ of the frame and leave space for them to “look” into
  • To create tension do the opposite
  • Low angle if you want them to look powerful
  • High angle makes your model look smaller or less threatening
  • Level with camera is a “normal”
  • If you isolate them, they appear vulnerable
  •  The right position or framing can be the difference between a memorable shot and a meh shot

2. Exposing

Exposing for skin tone gives a “fashion look” to this portrait

3. White Balance


Changing custom WB settings can radically change the look of your image

My Process

I set my colour temp to 5200 which is a good representation of daylight

I shoot in RAW

If colour is crucial (product/advertising/skin tone) I use a grey card to create a neutral base 

Adjust WB in Post

If I forget I select a neutral tone in the image

Look for a good white ( not blown out)

Tweak WB by eye.

4. Connection

  1. Introduce yourself immediately.

2. Take a few mins (the longer the better) to engage in light chit chat 

3. Speak clearly and confidently and loud enough for them to hear you. 

4. Show them and tell them what you want them to do and why

5. Use verbal, not visual cues

6. Keep talking, praise and encourage. 

7. Tell your model what you are doing

5. Depth and light are your best friends

  • In this example the background is a hot mess. 
  • Shooting at a wider aperture creates a more pleasing background and eliminates all distractions

How to direct and pose like a pro

About Gina

About Gina

Gina Milicia is one of the most widely known and respected photographers in Australia. She is the master of capturing that ‘magical moment’... READ MORE

instagram Instagram