Lockdown for Portrait Photographers By Mike Martin

Portrait Photography Tips and Tricks

These have been unusual times it has been difficult and challenging for portrait photographers to stay motivated. 

Basically, whilst prevented from undertaking new shoots you are left with the following:

  • Do selfies
  • Shoot your partner or family members or others you may live with or are in your support bubble
  • Brush up on your skills and develop new ones - revisit images from previous shoots to edit / re-edit and get creative



Anyone who knows me will appreciate that whilst this is a fairly accurate likeness, I’m not going to get any awards for this and frankly in showing this, I’ve probably given you nightmares. 

In this image I deliberately avoided using any strobes – the lighting came from my patio doors with a piece of black card gaffer taped to the glass behind me.  This allowed light to wrap around from either side. I placed the camera on a tripod and hung a reflector on the front resting on a chair to provide a bit of fill light.
However, if you are more blessed in the looks department or have a more characterful face, why not give it a go.


Shooting those you live with

Neither my wife nor my son are particulalry comfortable being in front of the camera.  Indeed, the majority of images I have of either are taken whilst grabbing some exercise using a long telephoto as right. 
They aren’t great shots, but there’s no harm in shooting ‘stock material’ for use in creative projects.
My son is a bit of an Anime fan and one benefit from lockdown is that we’ve got to watch quite a few as a family. Whilst they are difficult to keep up with (he insists on having the the original Japanese narration with subtitles rather than dubbed versions) some can be visually stunning an a great source of inspiration for creative images. 


Brush up on your skills and develop new ones 

This is where I’ve expended much of my effort.  Here’s a ideas I’ve been playing with.

Adding lightning:




Changing background, and adding snow:    



Surviving lockdown doesn’t have to be ‘repetative’ but if it is going to be, let it be visually repetative.

               (figures from my regular exercise walks)




Not sure how to get started creatively, lacking inspiration, not got the skills, why not join me or one of the other tutors on one of the courses from the Fotospeed Academy.

Want more photography insights? Sign up to our newsletter for exclusive photography tips, tricks and news sent straight to your inbox.