It was so fun to have pictures of her involved in what she likes instead of just the standard school photo package.
I am very much an amateur photographer but here's a few tips I have picked up along the way for doing portraits:
1. Take pictures in the shade. Although it may seem like you should take the picture in the bright sunlight, this creates harsh lines and shadows on a persons face. Take photos on sunny days, but in the shade. Then brighten the photo on the computer if needed.
2. Taking pictures from above someone is always flattering. Taking pictures from below someone is not flattering. It makes them seem large and even somewhat awkward. I love having brides sit down with their wedding dress all around them. Then, I climb up on something tall and shoot down on them. Works like a charm every time! (See the first picture for an example. I tried to move it down here but can't because Blogger is being stubborn!)
3. It is not always best to center the person in the photo. Follow the rule of thirds when composing your shot.
4. Say really stupid things to make the person smile naturally. I attempt to crack jokes or I act like some famous Hollywood photographer trying to get real smiles. They are so much better than posed or fake ones.
5. Let your subject suggest poses and shots. Often times, these are some of the best shots because the subject feels comfortable. (The fence shot above is an example of this. It was her idea, I didn't really think it would work.)