Follow these 7+ tips that'll help you take stunning portraits

So many different elements come into play when trying to take the perfect photograph. The light has to be just right, the subject's eyes must be in focus, and clothing patterns and colors have to compliment the subject and background.
There's much more involved than pointing and shooting to get the best photo. Photography is an art, and as such, the artist should constantly learn how to perfect her craft. Check out these photography tips that may help during the next photoshoot.
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Quality of light
Soft, natural light is the most flattering for portrait photography. A beautifully lit portrait results in a clear image. Capture the beauty of a face by reflecting natural light on the subject.
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Soft and even light is essential to portrait photography. If possible, place the subject near a window. Watch this instructional video to learn how to diffuse and reflect light on a subject.
Make the eyes the focus
Focus on the eyes of the subject closest to the camera. The eyes are the most expressive part of the face. Eyes must appear sharp and in focus; dull and out of focus eyes retract from a beautiful portrait.
Proper camera positioning
The position and angle of the camera will determine the outcome of a photograph. Understand that there are three positions recognized in photography: low position, high position and eye-level position. The angle refers to the degree to which the camera is tilted at the subject.
Wardrobe
Dark colors or bright colors? Selecting a wardrobe for a subject isn't always an easy task. Select colors that reflect the mood of the subject. Serious or silly? The desired outcome of a photo has a lot to do with wardrobe.
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Strong prints and patterns can take attention away from a subject rather than draw attention to facial details. Choose colors that are flattering and reflect the mood of the subject. Check out this video to learn more about clothing and its impact on photography.
Check your gear
Before any shoot, make sure the camera is in working order. Make sure all supplies, such as batteries and memory cards, are packed in the camera bag. Pack props in advance if they are required.
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Prepare for a photo shoot in advance. Ensure all photography equipment is in working order, including accessories such as tripods and additional lighting. Watch this video to go over a maintenance and supply checklist.
Backgrounds
Outside or inside? Outdoor shots provide natural light and, hopefully, a beautiful background. Avoid a busy background and loud-print clothing. Your subject should be the focus of the photograph -- she shouldn't appear lost in the photograph.
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Set a subject in dark-colored clothing in front of a white or light-colored backdrop. Avoid photographing a subject in front of glass or mirrors, as the glare affects the quality of the photo. Check out this video for additional tips; learn what happens to a subject wearing green when placed in front of a green screen.
Direct your subject
When you're smiling, the world smiles with you. Direct your subject to tilt her head, smile or focus on a specific object to capture an expression or specific features. Encourage your subject to pose in front of a mirror so she can get an idea of what to do or what not to do in front of the camera.
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As a photographer, it should be a goal to make the subject feel as comfortable and natural in front of a camera. Sometimes people are not aware of their body language and as such may need some direction. Check out this video for posture and posing tips for photography.
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