8 portrait photography mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Young father photographing his son and wife in the park
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Whether you like to photograph wildlife or the open landscape, the chances are you’ve been a portrait photographer at some point. People, after all, are the most commonly photographed subject (though in the social media age, cats may be giving us a run for our money). Whether it’s a holiday photo, family snap or a more considered documentary image, if there’s a person in the frame, it’s also a portrait. 

We all know, though, that people photos can be tricky to get right. There are the technical challenges of exposing for skin tones, the compositional challenges of posing someone and the ongoing challenge of photographing people who have strong ideas about how they do and don’t want to appear. What’s more, many people are also simply not very comfortable in front of a camera. To help you improve your people pictures, below are the most common mistakes photographers make when shooting portraits and how you can avoid them.

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