5 Common Portrait Photography Mistakes and How to Fix Them


Portrait photographer Miguel Quiles is back with another useful video for aspiring portrait photographers. This time, he’s put together a video outlining the five most common portrait photography mistakes that he’s seen over the years, and how he suggests that beginners avoid or fix them.

Quiles tells PetaPixel that the list is based on his personal experience “doing portfolio reviews or judging portraits in competitions.” So while these may seem pretty “basic,” they’re also incredibly common across the experience spectrum. The five mistakes are:

  1. Missing Focus – Don’t wait until after your shoot to zoom in to 100% and realize you missed critical focus
  2. Poor Composition – Your viewer shouldn’t have to struggle to figure out where their eyes should go
  3. Photoshop Gymnastics – Don’t spend hours trying to fix a bad image in post; take it as a lesson that you should address poor lighting, bad styling, and other issues while shooting whenever possible.
  4. Adding Watermarks – Quiles claims that you’ll be hard-pressed to find top photographers who use massive, distracting watermarks. He suggests embedding your info into metadata instead.
  5. Over-Retouching – Overuse of things like Frequency Separation, Dodge and Burn, and others are some of the most common and easiest ways to ruin a great portrait.

Check out the full video to hear Quiles’ thoughts on each of these five points, how he sees these mistakes pop up most often, and what he suggests you do to avoid or fix them. Some, like the Watermarking tip, will no doubt stir up some controversy, but there’s a reason behind each of the points that he makes.



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