How to Learn Portraiture: Why Your Family is the Ideal Subject
If you’re a new photographer and you’re looking for people to photograph, you’ve got a ready-made pool of models right at home – your family.
And while not all family members are revved up to have their photo taken all the time, forcing your loved ones to help you out can not only benefit your photography skills but give your family some lasting memories to look back on years from now.
There’s a host of other reasons why your family is the ideal subject for how to learn portraiture, too…
They’re Easily Bribed
Never again will you find models for your photography so easily or cheaply.
A promise of an ice cream cone for your kids, an offer of a home-cooked meal for your wife, a trip to the sporting goods store for your husband…bribing family members to pose for portraits couldn’t be any easier!
Besides, you can always practice environmental or candid portraits by grabbing your camera and documenting family activities.
The kids playing in the yard, your spouse working in the kitchen, a trip to the amusement park – typical family activities make excellent subjects to practice portrait photography techniques.
There’s No Pressure
Photographing your family is a great way to learn basic portrait photography techniques because there’s no pressure on you or them to get the perfect shot.
That being the case, you can concentrate on dialing in the right camera settings, manipulating the light, and so forth, while your loved one just sits there and strikes a silly pose now and then.
In that regard, since there’s no pressure on either of you, it can turn into a rather fun little experiment.
And when you have fun and your portrait subject has fun, the chances are good that you’ll get some quality candid shots that inspire you to keep practicing.
You Can Learn How to Direct Models
The low-pressure environment I discussed above offers yet another advantage for practicing portraiture on your family – you can learn how to direct models.
What many new photographers misunderstand is that models don’t just walk in front of the camera and start working it.
Instead, photographers give models direction – even if the model is a professional.
By working with your family members, you can start to develop a feel for how to give someone direction to improve the portrait.
That’s because you have a familiarity with your loved ones, so you can use that relaxed vibe to help them relax in front of the camera.
This is exactly what you want to do when you photograph models that you don’t know. Build a relationship. Develop rapport. Help them relax. If you can do that, better portraits await!
Even Practice Photos Make Great Memories
Some of my favorite photos of my family from childhood are those that I took when I was 10 or 11 years old with a Polaroid camera.
I was just messing around back then, but still, those experiences I had with a camera as a child helped shape my experiences behind the lens and made me the photographer that I am today.
The same can hold true for the photos you take of your family as you learn the ropes of photography.
Even if the exposure is a little off or the composition isn’t quite right, photos you take now of your kids, your parents, your siblings, and so forth – even in their imperfect state – could end up being some of your favorite photos you ever take.
That means a lot not just from the perspective of being a valuable learning experience, but also from the perspective of making memories that you can hold onto for the rest of your life.
You Can Easily Turn Your Photos Into Gorgeous Prints
Perhaps best of all, when you use your family as practice subjects for your portraiture, you have a ready-made storehouse of memories that you can turn into beautiful prints.
This isn’t to say that every photo you take will be worthy of turning into a print to go above the fireplace, but you’ll have plenty along the way that you’ll want to do more with than simply leave on your flash drive.
Having beautiful prints made is easier than ever before, too.
That’s because companies like CanvasHQ have streamlined the process of getting high-quality prints and made it a breeze even for novice photographers to have their prints made.
If you call, a real human answers. If you aren’t totally happy with your print, they’ll redo it. If it sounds too good to be true, believe me, it isn’t!
I’ve ordered dozens of prints from these guys over the years, and it never ceases to amaze me how nice the prints are and how quickly they arrive at my doorstep, too.
Part of practicing to be a better photographer is learning how to complete the entire process from taking the photo to editing it to having prints made.
CanvasHQ is the perfect partner for figuring out the latter third of that equation because they actually care about their customers and about your experience of getting prints made.
Like I said before, not all your photos will be worthy of printing. But when you capture a beautiful moment of your family, it deserves to be immortalized in a canvas print that will last for generations.