I love portrait photography. It takes time to build good relationship with the person who you are about to photograph and, trust me, it is not easy to capture the right portrait. I am always trying to find out a little bit about the person who I am going to work with. It helps.
I want to to see what my subject likes best and how he or she sees himself/herself.
Portraits can be very moody or simple, with no distractions. All depends on your assignment and the effect you would like to achieve. I think the most difficult part in portrait photography is to know what final image you want to have. Knowing is everything :)
Of course, working with professional models makes photo session much much easier. They usually know how to pose or how to achieve certain look much more quicker than unexperienced person. From the other point, you loose this special connection with your subject as professional model know what to do strait away and it is quite difficult to take them to this natural level where normally everyone is.
One of the most important rules in portrait photography is eye contact. Having eyes in focus is always my priority in any portrait images. But of course, in photography, rules are only rules and not always apply to images . As I said before it is always about to know what you are targeting to achieve with your portrait. Sometimes it's about the atmosphere and emotions. Sometimes about the places. Knowing what you actually photographing is priority. And yes with the simple “look at me” pose eyes are my main target.
Another important factor in any portrait photography is location. Place can help you to create the story but can also distract. So choose wisely what image you are aiming for. If it is just a person you want to show maybe best place is studio where simple background won’t take anything away from the subject. With location images is a bit different. I am always trying to compose that way so the photograph person and the place match each other and compliment in the best possible way.
Clothing is very important too. With the right outfit images look more vibrant and interesting. Wearing the right clothes no doubt help with the correct understanding of the photographed person and also tell us a bit more about story behind it. I would recommend anyone who wants to have a portrait session to think what it is he/she is doing - even most boring job can be show in a very interesting way.
Last thing I wanted to point out - don’t be afraid! We all need to communicate with each other. So many people came to me not knowing what they want or how they want to achieve they dream image. Counting only on photographer or person who is photograph never going to be ideal. We all have different views and without expressing them we won’t create our perfect image :)