How to Run a Successful Portrait Session

Running a successful portrait session can be a daunting task, especially for photographers who are new to working in a studio. The myriad of options can easily become overwhelming. There are endless choices for light modifiers, backdrops, props, clothing, poses, and all the rest, but I have found that having a consistent plan and process is the key to success.

In this video, I detail my portrait process from start to finish, including images I created with both continuous lights and flash, using everything from a Westcott Peter Hurley Flex Kit, to Alien Bees strobes, as well as a Westcott Optical Spot by Lindsay Adler. Although I throw the kitchen sink at my client when it comes to gear, the focus of this video is not on gear, but on process, namely, creating a consistent process that removes much of the doubt and confusion that can be common in studio portrait situations. I also show how I use a "base" lighting and build upon to create a variety of different looks during a single session, without swapping a ton of gear.

Although each photographer works differently, I like to start my portrait sessions with some head-and-shoulders headshots for a variety of reasons. In addition to being a great way to warm up your client without having to think about posing their bodies, it also allows me to get to know their unique face and expression so that I have a good idea of what angles and expressions work best for them. Also, showing my client an awesome headshot is a great, and fast, way to inspire them and break the ice, which makes the rest of the shoot flow more seamlessly. I hope you enjoy the video.

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