Portrait Photography for Beginners
4.3 (202 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
20,180 students enrolled

Portrait Photography for Beginners

You'll learn how to take better portraits with any camera in this complete portrait photography course.
4.3 (202 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
20,180 students enrolled
Last updated 3/2019
English [Auto-generated]
Current price: Free Original price: $99.99 Discount: 100% off
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
This course includes
  • 3.5 hours on-demand video
  • 4 articles
  • 12 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Assignments
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • You will learn how to take better portraits with any camera.
  • Take better photos with your smartphone.

  • Learn 6 tips for improving your portrait photography.

  • Edit your portraits to make them look stunning.
  • Choose a better background and compose your subject.
  • Feel confident interacting and posing your subject.
  • While there are no requirements, we do recommend knowing your basic photography skills.
  • You would benefit from knowing how your camera settings work (like aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and white balance).
  • Learn the basics before taking this course with our Photography Masterclass.

Welcome to the complete Portrait Photography for Beginners course!

We are so excited to help you take better portraits. If you're a relatively new photographer, this is the perfect portrait photography course to help you with this new skill!

You'll learn everything you need to know to take better portraits with any camera - DSLR, mirrorless, smartphone, or point-and-shoot. 


Start with our 6 tips to photographing better portraits:

  • Choose a better background and compose your shot
  • Lighting your portraits
  • Properly and creatively expose your photo
  • Play with depth of field
  • Think about colors
  • Interacting and posing your subject

You'll learn portrait photography with real world demonstrations!

Join Will Carnahan, professional photographer and instructor, in a full demonstration to see how you can use our 6 tips in real life.

Learn how to edit your portraits to look even better!

Use free and professional photo editing apps on your phone, tablet, or computer. You'll learn how to use different apps to professionally make your portraits look even better.

Share your photos on social media!

Get modern tips for sharing your photos on Instagram and Facebook. Use these tips to advance your professional photography career - if that's what your goal is!


  • Downloadable photos to practice editing with
  • Tips for how to shoot weddings, headshots, and family portraits
  • Premium support from your instructors


So, why should take this course from us? There are plenty of portrait photography courses to choose from. But we believe that we've created a course that can truly help you take better portraits in less time.

Video School Online has created some of the best selling online photography courses, and we always strive to help you learn new skills in a fun and engaging way!

Lastly, we have a 30-day 100% money back guarantee! Try out this course, and see if you like it. There's absolutely no risk!

We can't wait to see you in the course!

Who this course is for:
  • Beginners and people looking to up their skills and take better portraits.
Course content
Expand all 32 lectures 03:32:50
+ Introduction to the Course
5 lectures 10:27

Welcome to the course, get to know your teacher and the curriculum ahead. While knowing a little bit about photography always helps this class is for pros and beginners alike. We want to bring all our knowledge to you, so you can walk away taking better photos!

Preview 01:53

In this video Will intros the key elements that will make your photos better. While we will dive into each of them later on, its always good to keep these elements in mind before you start shooting: Composition and backgrounds, Lighting, Exposure, depth of field, color, and posing.

Preview 02:53

An illustrated guide with over 100 poses for photographing couples, women, men, children, and groups.

DOWNLOAD: 100+ Posing Ideas

There are many different cameras out there. In this video we will talk about the differences between the most popular types of cameras and talk about why the best camera is the one you have with you. We also talk about the difference between a smart phone and spending the extra cash on an interchangeable lens camera.

Preview 04:39
Join the Official Student Photography Group
+ 6 Tips for Great Portraits
7 lectures 41:57

In this lecture will talks about the first steps to setting up your portrait. He covers basic composing the shot and setting up the best background.

Preview 03:50

Will talks about the different types of light in soft vs. hard light. He also dives into the basics of what a flash will do for your portrait. 


Will talks in depth about how exposure can effect the type of portrait you're making. He screen shots his lightroom catalogue and takes you through several different examples of exposures in portraits he has shot.


In this lecture will explains what depth of field is and how it can dramatically make your photos look more professional. He shows some examples of how to achieve depth of field and how you can do several things to get that look with your own equipment. 

Depth of field

Color can be very important. In this video Will talks about what color can do to effect your photo and what to look out for. He also touches on black and white vs. color.


Using examples and a live model, will talks about how to pose someone for a simple portrait. He also shows you a quick tip to pose your subject quickly and easily in any situation.

Interacting / Posing # 1

Check out these posing guides for ideas on how to pose your subject(s) for portraits.

Posing Guides for Men, Women, Children, Couples, and Groups
+ Real World Portrait Demonstration
4 lectures 16:18

In this lecture Will takes the cameras outside to check out a local park. He will talk about where the best place to shoot a quick portrait is when faced with a sunny day at a park. You'll see a live demo along with the raw photos.

Location 1 - Scouting an Outdoor Location

Will taks his mobile phone out for a shoot and uses the portrait mode in a live example to show you just how good mobile photography can be.

Location 1- Mobile Photography

Will talks about what to look for when you're trying to take a portrait in doors. He positions his subject in the best place possible and gives tips on how to create professional looking light that anyone can do.

Location 2 - Scouting an Inside Location

Our third location, Will shows how to make the best of a random spot next to a street. With a live demo he also shares how multiple shoots in one location can be a great "go to" way to shoot portraits. 

Location 3 - Scouting an Outdoor Location
Simply find a friend or family member to take a picture of. Often this can be the hardest step when starting out, taking the first step to making a great portrait is locking down your subject.
Assignment 1 - Find someone to photograph
1 question
+ Tips for Different Portrait Situations
5 lectures 25:46

Will shows examples and gives some quick tips on how to shoot senior portraits and corporate headshots. 

Senior Portraits & Corporate Headshots

In this lecture Will gets to share his favorite photo. He also gives some quick tips on how best to set your self up for a new born photo shoot.

New Born & Maternity Photos

Will talks about the best way to approach shooting engagement photos. Using many examples from his past work, he describes how he took them and what the quickest way to get the best photo is from his subjects.

Engagement & Couple Photos

Will shows some past wedding portraits he has taken and talks through a couple of them, sharing the best tips and ideas for getting that great wedding portrait on a very important day.

Wedding & Event Photography
Now that you have some tips, get out there and take your first picture!!
Assignment 2 - Take Your First Portrait
1 question

In this lesson of the portrait photography course, Phil Ebiner walks through a recent photo shoot he did using the tips and tricks learned in this course.

Maternity Photo Session Recap with Phil
+ Editing Your Photos
5 lectures 44:15

Will talks quickly about what to expect in this section from editing and on to the next section in sharing.

Introduction to Editing

Using a screencast from our mobile phone Will demos the mobile app Snapseed. Get to watch Will edit a photo from one of the lives demos using one of the most powerful mobile photography editing applications.

Editing on Your Mobile Device with Snapseed

In this lecture Will shows you how to use VSCO editing app on your phone. From editing the basics to using specific filters he shows you how to do a quick edit using photos from the live demos.

Editing on Your Mobile Device with VSCO

Will shows you how to import a group of photos into lightroom and then takes you into a basic edit. Using the power of lightroom he demos some quick editing tips in contrast and exposure, along with a quick way to clean up some blemishes. 

Editing a Mirrorless Photo in Lightroom

Will takes you through some quick tips on how to use photoshop to make your portraits pop. He also shows you two ways to smooth out blemishes and bags under those eyes.

Editing a Mirrorless Photo in Photoshop
Now its time to put the final touches on your photo. Edit together your first portrait in the post editing application of you're preference and post it here!
Assignment 3 - Edit your photo
1 question
+ Sharing
3 lectures 10:27

Will gives some quick tips on the differences between Facebook and instagram.

Facebook Tips for Sharing Photos

Will goes over why he loves instagram and then give a live screen shot demo of him posting a favorite photo.

Instagram Tips & Demonstration

In this lecture will talks about some quick tips on printing as well as what to look for in paper quality and and getting the right size frame and matt for your photo.

Printing Your Photos
+ Conclusions
1 lecture 01:27

Thank you so much for taking this course. We hope you enjoyed it, and are now taking better photos than ever before!

Thanks - Keep Shooting!
+ Bonus Lessons
2 lectures 01:01:19

Live Q&A discussion about improving your portrait photography with Phil Ebiner of Video School Online and professional photographer Will Carnahan.

Live Q&A with Will Carnahan about Portrait Photography
Bonus Lecture: Get Any of Phil's Course for Up to 90% Off