3 Steps to Take Your Portraits from ZERO to HERO (Beginner Photographers NEED This Advice)

Over the course of the next week I’m going to be sharing three videos about how to go from zero to a great portrait photographer.  This series is for YOU if you want to be able to:

  • Create stunning portrait photographs

  • Shoot with top-notch models

  • Get admiration for your work


So how did I get started in portrait photography?  About two years ago I was shooting mostly street photos and architecture here in Boston.  I had seen some cool fashion photos online from people like Jessica Kobeissi.  And I decided I wanted to try shooting portraits.

But who could I shoot with?  I didn’t know anything about Instagram or how to find models for me shoots.  So I decided just to reach out to a couple of friends and ask to take their photos.  This brings me to the first step to becoming a portrait photographer (if you have no experience).

1. Take Portraits of Friends to Get Started

If you’re just starting out I recommend to start taking portraits of friends.  It’s a low risk way and easy way to start practicing portrait photography.  So grab a friend and head to your local park and start taking pictures.

Another thing that many photographers, myself included, get stressed about is their gear.  Is my camera good enough to shoot portraits?  Should I buy another lens?

2. You Don't Need Fancy Camera Gear.  Just Start Shooting Portraits.

You don’t need the fanciest gear to start shooting portraits.  Hell you can even get started with a smartphone (I have friends who have done that).

I started shooting portraits with a Canon 40D camera.  The camera was almost 10 years old when I got it and it cost me around $100.  I shot with a 50mm f/1.8 lens that cost $150.  It was a very modest kit, but I was able to produce some images like these ones:

Taken in summer 2015. I barely knew what I was doing at that point, but I got better with consistent practice.

Taken in summer 2015. I barely knew what I was doing at that point, but I got better with consistent practice.

10 megapixels baby!

10 megapixels baby!

So whatever gear you currently have just start taking photos.  You will get better with practice and time.

3. Put in the Work and Practice

Ultimately, you need to actively seek out tutorials and ways to learn portrait photography, how to pose models, etc.  And then put those resources into practice.  This could be YouTube videos, books, online courses, etc.  Whatever format you prefer, focus on specific things you want to learn and then actually take action.

Practice and patience will take you to hero status.

I outlined some of my favorite free learning materials in the Portrait Photographer’s Ultimate Resource Guide.  When you sign up to my email newsletter you can pick that up for free.


In the next video I’m going to talk about 5 hacks you can use to take your portrait photography game to the next level.

When it comes to portrait photography, what's the biggest thing you are struggling with right now? 

Leave it in the comments below.