Get away from using the phrase “take a picture”
and start using the phrase “make a picture”.
“Taking” feels too much like a one-sided action of the photographer seizing
something from another person rather than something which is created together
between the photographer and the model in agreement, tandem and harmony.
FILL THE FRAME
THE EYES HAVE IT
PLAY WITH POV
When making a portrait of a model, we need not always have the model’s face fill the frame at the same height as the lens, looking directly at the camera. Although that will certainly work most of the time, we should always try to experiment with alternative angles in order to see a subject in a totally different way.
Sometimes shooting from beneath or above the model can create a dramatic and very different perspective.
Try doing a profile shot rather than a direct face shot to create a cool picture, too.
Reflections on water or glass can add fantastic dimension and double the impact of your photo. Any time you see a reflective surface near a beautiful subject, see if there is a certain angle that might be hiding the most beautiful view right under your nose.
Often the glimmering reflections of lights on calm water at night makes for dazzling photos. Having the model lean their face toward a foggy rainy window or a shiny storefront display can add greatly to the impression. Angle is key here, too. Sometimes the reflection is invisible until you take one more step left or right
A GOOD PICTURE TELLS A STORY
Include as many elements of the story you are telling as possible. Sometimes a little staging helps, and sometimes it’s just too obviously staged and tacky. Props and background items should be placed so they contribute to the essence of a story, but not detract attention away from the subject.
You’ll feel it when you find the right balance. This ties in directly with choosing a background as we discussed earlier, but you can also think of it as choosing a setting or a scene. Without overdoing it, try to include whatever is directly contributing to the essence or theme you are trying to capture.