Tips for Beautiful Portraits


Whether it’s for social networking, a business website, or online dating, we all need a good portrait of ourselves. Now, thanks to technology, it’s possible to capture a professional-looking portrait in the comfort of your own home.

Erin’s Home Studio Lighting Kit from Erin Manning on Vimeo.

The quality and direction of light can make or break a photograph. Notice where the shadows are falling upon your subject and it’s easy to identify which direction the light is coming from.

• Top light is just like a sunny day at high noon – not attractive. Overhead light creates under-eye shadows.
• Front light is considered beauty light, because it minimizes wrinkles and bumps. The shadow under my subject’s nose indicates the light is placed in front of the face and above the eye line.
• Sidelight creates dimension and texture in your image. Sidelight is found outside in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is low in the sky.


Natural light can be beautiful, especially early in the morning and late in the afternoon, but you can’t rely on it. If you’re using an on-camera flash the results are often unflattering and difficult to control. That’s why it’s best to use a constant, flattering light source to achieve consistent results.

I discovered that a lot of people want professional-looking pictures without spending a lot of money, and they’re intimidated by the technology and price of professional lighting kits. So I teamed up with FJ Westcott to offer a safe, simple, “cool to the touch” daylight balanced lighting kit that makes you look good!

I took a picture of Karla on That Morning Show on E! Look at the results I achieved in the “After” photograph, just by using one of the Home Studio Lights.


Here are a few other tips for capturing a beautiful portrait:

• Tip 1: Look for a catch light in the eyes. This reflection of light in the eyes makes your subject come alive in the image.


• Tip 2: Give yourself room to zoom for a flattering perspective. If you want to fill the frame with your subject’s face, don’t use the wide-angle setting and move in close. Instead, stand back and give yourself room to zoom in with your telephoto lens to fill the frame.


• Tip 3: Create a more visually compelling image by using the “rule of thirds.” Visually divide your scene into thirds and place something of interest at one or more of the intersections.


These are just a few things you can do to improve your images and create amazing portraits that will make a lasting impression.

Watch the video to see a live demonstration!

Erin on E! That Morning Show from Erin Manning on Vimeo.