A beautiful portrait looks clean and effortless, but whether you are shooting a portrait for a professional headshot, bridal portrait, maternity pictures.... there are some key points to creating a flattering and exciting image. 

-Utilize beautiful natural light. Using the first and last hours of the day gives you a beautiful warm golden light that is flattering on subjects. This softer light is easier on the eyes, and creates beautiful tones on skin. 

Hawaii Photographer, Pacific Dream Photographer - Portrait Photography

- Use a longer lens. Using longer lenses (or primes) helps give your image a compressed look that is more flattering. If you have a 70-200 lens, take a few steps back and really zoom into your subject. You will get a more flattering angle on your subject, and the focus will be on them, removing any distracting backgrounds. Wide angle can make your subject's foreheads or chins look larger than they are.

- Use a low aperture. For a single person, you can go as low as possible. We want our subject's eyes and face to be crisp and clear and everything else to soften out of focus. 

- When possible, we love to use a key light and a backlight, or key light and a side fill light. If you are inside, try positioning your subject by a window. You can then use a reflector to fill in the shadowed side of their face so that you aren't getting anything too contrasted. You want more even, flattering light. If you are outside, try to position the subject with their back to the sun, I then use reflectors or flash to fill in the shadows on their face. Try not to side light a subject unless they have perfect skin and facial structure. I love using reflectors because you get that big white sparkle in your subjects eyes which is what really brings them to life.

- Don't get too much of a side angle on your subject. A little bit of face to the side is good. If you overdo it, your light is going to fall off the side of their face and get blocked by their nose. 

Hawaii Photographer, Pacific Dream Photographer - Portrait Photography

- Try to have a little height on your subject. Whatever is closer to your cameras focus point is going to appear slightly larger. If you are slightly elevated at your subjects eye level shooting slightly down, the eyes are going to be slightly larger, which is more flattering. If you are down too low shooting a portrait often times the nose and chin will appear largest.

Keep these tips in mind and there is no way you can go wrong!

written by Julia (Pacific Dream Photography at The Kahala Resort)

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