10 Portrait Photography Mistakes

... and how to avoid them (Webinar Replay)

Thank you for registering for the recent webinar on 10 portrait mistakes to avoid. If you missed it or you want to review some of the points, the replay video is now available for you to watch above.

Inside the video, I cover all the following:

  • Using the wrong lens.
  • The background is too busy and distracting.
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    Shooting from the wrong camera angle.
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    The lighting is too harsh and unflattering.
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    The lighting direction is wrong.
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    The photo is blurry.
  • Improper use of flash.
  • Poor composition or framing.
  • Shooting at the wrong time of day.
  • Choosing the wrong or a poor location.

Make sure you watch all the way to end where Heather and I did a Q&A and answered all the questions live.

Finally, if you enjoyed the presentation and my teaching style, you may want to take advantage of the special offer to get my online course, Portrait Fundamentals, that will take you step-by-step through everything you need to know to make better portraits.

Doors are usually closed on this course and the regular price is $197 USD. But for a limited time only, you can grab it for only $97. You save $100!

You will also get the following FOUR bonuses (3 extra PDF guides and a set of portrait presets for Lightroom) if you buy it now that do not normally come with the course.

  Learn to take great portraits even if you are a beginner! 

Portrait Photography Fundamentals

Does any of this sound familiar to you?

  • You’ve tried other portrait courses but they seem too advanced even at the beginning and you get lost right away.
  • People keep asking you to take photos of them and you are afraid to even attempt doing portraits for fear of messing it up.
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    You’re never sure what camera settings to use for portraits.
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    You aren’t sure you can do this, it seems too complicated and over your head. Lack of confidence is holding you back.
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    Your flash is a complete mystery and it is likely still in the box.
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    Working with people is intimidating and you don’t know how to direct or pose them.

Buy it now and save $100 (regular $197) 
Special offer for Photoshop & Photography Facebook Group

You've tried everything behind the camera . . .

You get off to a good start doing portraits  - but it doesn’t stick. You forget everything you learned and you struggle to replicate the same results twice. So you lose motivation and get stuck!

You've read articles and eBooks about how to do portrait photography but you feel more confused than ever. You're trying to piece together how to do everything from camera settings, lighting, and posing on your own, without help.

You wish someone would just take you by the hand and guide you through each step in order, and you had a way you could just ask questions when you need to.

Imagine what it will feel like when  . . . 

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    You understand your camera settings and finally get consistent results every time!
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    You’ve mastered lighting and have a plan for approaching any shooting location with confidence.
  • You get to focus on the people in your photos without worrying about the technical stuff.
  • Your friends and family tell you that your portraits are amazing and want you to take their photos.

You’re ready to get started doing portraits, but you’ve got a lot of questions! We get it! 

You are asking yourself questions like... 

  • I don’t have proper camera gear and lighting equipment, how could I ever make good portraits?
  • Portrait photography is really hard. As a beginner, can I learn to create portraits now?
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    I’m super busy, will I have time to learn and practice portrait photography skills?
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    How can I create sharp, well-exposed images consistently? 
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    Where do I start when working with people?

Through my 7+ years of teaching portrait photography, I know you probably have a lot of questions. As you start photographing people, and doing portraits for the first time, it can be really overwhelming.

If you don’t have a plan to follow, it can be easy to make some critical mistakes, get off track, and never end up at the finish line - a collection of stunning portraits in your photography gallery.

Without guidance and support, it can be difficult to make any progress at all!

That is why we created this step-by-step course . . .

Portrait Fundamentals

A road-map to portrait photography skills and confidence for beginners.

Watch the course on any device!

Buy it now and save $100 (regular $197) 
Special offer for Photoshop & Photography Facebook Group

Here's what some of our students are saying:

Course content was extensive and good value

Although I'm an experienced amateur and familiar with most of the technical material covered during the course, the course helped me pick up valuable tips on posing, interacting with the model as well as things to look out for and avoid.

The course was nicely paced and both presenters explained things simply and clearly. The course content was extensive and good value.

William Vernon

It's given me much more confidence . . . 

I have learned more about my own photographic equipment, how the components can work together and how to better understand the exposure triangle elements.

The practical demonstrations of how to implement the various course subjects has been an eye opener for me and given me much more confidence in my (limited) photography skills, particularly taking family portraits.

Terry Titmarsh, Australia

The few pictures I have taken after these course are way better than the previous ones I took and I do get paid to cover events.

First, I got a complete understanding of the thought process in making photographs. I learned more about lights, broad lighting and short lighting.

I learned about different effects of lights falling on a subjects based on the placement of light..loop. Rembrandt, butterfly, etc.

I learned the proper way to shoot during the golden hour. I have better understanding of flash photography, inverse square law usage. I learned how to check my surroundings for distracting objects.

There is too much to list. 

Victor Iwotor

Your life before Portrait Fundamentals:

  • Your flash is a scary monster so it stays in its box in the closet.
  • You struggle to find the right camera settings and get the right exposure.
  • You feel incapable (or maybe even stupid), and are ready to give up on portrait photography.
  • You are frustrated with inconsistent results, and struggle to understand lighting.
  • People ask you to take photos for them and you cringe in fear, and you want to run and hide!
  • Your portraits just don’t look like the ones on the internet and you can’t figure out what you’re doing wrong.

Your life after Portrait Fundamentals:

  • You’re using your flash and getting consistently good results.
  • You’ve got a handle on exposure and get sharp images every time!
  • You feel more confident working with people and actually enjoy taking portraits.
  • You understand light better and have an easier time seeing it, and even creating it when necessary.
  • You want to take portraits and you create wonderful flattering images that you are happy to show off to everyone.
  • Your portraits pop and you feel better equipped to take on any challenges.
Portrait photography online course outline

We are here to support you:

  • Dedicated email for support.
  • Access to a peer community inside a private Facebook group.

Join over 500 Alumni

This is what they have to say about Portrait Fundamentals

The pace and simple steps are exactly what I needed.

I entered this course in hopes of better understanding lighting ratios and flash usage, and upon finishing it, I can safely say I got what I hoped for and then some.

I find myself more confident in using even some studio equipment I didn't quite understand (or knew) before. 

Leonel Angel

A comprehensive approach to lighting a scene with flash and natural light

Most other courses or instruction seem to start about halfway through and assume that the flash is already set up but your course goes into more depth about why you need it in the first place.

Portrait Fundamentals is truly a comprehensive approach to lighting a scene with flash and natural light. 

Peter Walmsley

More confident in off-camera flash

I feel like I can go out and begin to create the types of portraits that I've envisioned.

Jim Longino

Start taking better portraits today! 


Online course content

$197 $97 USD

  • 25 modules of online video lessons in easy to follow steps.
  • Over 6 hours of video lessons
  • A 245 page PDF notebook.
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    21 Exercises to practice what you've learned.
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    Facebook group with other students to share images and get feedback.

Complete this course online, from anywhere
in the world, on your own schedule.

You can complete the course lessons from the comfort of your couch or kitchen table, as long as you have an Internet connection!

The entire program is completely digital so you can access it from anywhere through our private course portal.

And you'll never miss a beat: you can go at your own pace and do the lessons on your schedule.

How long does it take to complete the Portrait Fundamentals course? 

The honest answer is, it depends on you and your current situation.

Most of our students are able to get through all the videos and exercises in 4-6 weeks.

Others might take a few extra months to watch all the lessons and put it into practice. There is no rush and no right or wrong amount of time, because you have lifetime access to the program and all future updates! Remember, this isn't a "quick fix" by any means.

We recommend you set aside 2-4 hours per week to go through the program and implement the assignments.

Once you complete the weekly challenges you will also have a varied and interesting portfolio of photographs you'll be proud to share.

The Best Time to Start Getting Better Shots is Now!

There has never been a better time to start working on your photography with Portrait Fundamentals. Why not start today instead of waiting another six months to a year for enrollment to open again?

Starting now will allow you to:

  • Get a handle on understanding exposure and getting sharp images every time!
  • Use your flash and get consistently better results.
  • Feel more confident working with people and actually enjoy taking portraits.
  • Understand lighting better and have an easier time seeing it, finding good light and even creating it when necessary.
  • Want your friends to ask you to take their portraits and then be able create wonderful flattering images that they are very happy to show off to everyone.
  • Feel able, accomplished and better equipped to take on any lighting challenge.

How do I know if I'm ready to take this course?

This course IS for you if...

  • You are a beginner or intermediate photographer.
  • You have a DSLR or mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses and manual and semi-automatic settings.
  • You have a decent understanding of how your camera works.
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    You want to take better photos of your family, friends and make even get some paying portrait jobs on the side.
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    You want to learn how to pose and work with people to make flattering portraits.
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    You struggle with lighting (especially using flash) and have tried other courses but they were too hard or advanced for you.

This course is NOT for you if ...

  • You are an advanced to professional photographer. It will likely be too basic for you.
  • You simply hate taking photos of people.
  • You have a point and shoot camera or take photos with your phone.
  • You have a very limited budget and cannot afford to spend $250 or so on a few small bits of equipment as needed. 
  • You don’t have 2-4 hours a week to study and do the practice exercises. 
  • You do not have good consistent free internet access. The course is streamed online so can use a lot of data or be choppy if you don’t have a good connection to wifi. 

You've got two choices:

You can keep trying to figure out all this portrait lighting and flash stuff on your own and struggling to put it all together. You might eventually get the consistent results you want in a few months or even years.

- OR -

You can enroll in this course and learn the inside tips from experienced portrait photography instructors, start improving your portraits immediately, and save time and money by not wasting it on things that don’t work.

You can do this even if . . .

You feel like you don't have enough time:

You can learn the skills you need by watching just one video a week (10-20 minutes) and doing the practice exercises at your own pace.

It’s not a race, slow and steady wins the game. You have lifetime access to the course content so take your time if you need to.

You fear that it may be too difficult or is over your head:

That’s why you need this course! We start right at the beginning and don’t leave anything out.

You will be taken step by baby step through the entire process from camera settings, to using natural light, to flash and finally putting it all together.

Watch the lessons more than once if you need a refresher and take as much time as you need to understand each step before you move on to the next one.

You lack confidence in your photography skills:

This is something that only comes over time and by actually doing more photography. So this is a perfect opportunity to flex your photography muscles and do a workout!

By doing the practice exercises with a friend that is supportive and helpful, you will see your skills progress and your confidence level soar!

Start taking better portraits today! 


Online course content

$197 $97 USD

  • 25 modules of online video lessons in easy to follow steps.
  • Over 6 hours of video lessons
  • A 245 page PDF notebook.
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    21 Exercises to practice what you've learned.
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    Facebook group with other students to share images and get feedback.

Secure Checkout




100% Satisfaction Guarantee

We wholeheartedly believe in the Portrait Fundamentals course, and have many satisfied students (over 500 alumni). But we want you to feel confident in trying it out for yourself!

That's why we have a 100% Risk Free Guarantee. You can try Portrait Fundamentals out for 30 days, and if you aren't satisfied, just ask us for a full refund.

If you do the work, put in your best effort, and feel that we haven’t delivered, we will issue a 100% refund.

Don't take our word for it . . .

The course info on equipment has helped me make informed decisions about what to buy next, and what I can do without.

I'm pretty good at candid "people" shots, but the course has taught me techniques to improve my posed portraits.

I'm pretty good with "good" natural light, but the course has shown me what can be done with flash to improve light that is less than great.

Lisa Funkhouser

I now feel comfortable with using a flash

I had never used a flash before this class. I now feel comfortable with using a flash and getting different lighting effects with it.

I feel more confident with being able to see light and know how to find better light to create a more pleasing portrait.

Rebecca Cullimore

It is a perfect all around introductory course on lighting and flash use.

It is a perfect portrait photography course for beginners trying to step it up a little bit. 

Jesús Martin Sanchez

By learning portrait photography through our online program, you get huge benefits without the huge price tag.

  • Attending a similar course in a classroom could cost $500 or more (plus travel expenses).
  • Hiring a private photography tutor for 8 hours could cost over $800.
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    You could waste hundreds of dollars buying the wrong gear or things you simply don’t need.
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    Attending a 3-5 day workshop would cost over $1500 (plus travel expenses).

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are these guys to teach this thing anyway?

How long do I have access to the course?

Can I download the videos?

I just got my camera, can I do this course?

I'm a working portrait photographer, what if I find this course material too basic?

Are ​​​​there any other material or equipment costs besides the enrollment cost of the course? ?

What do I need to access the private Facebook group?

Can I read the notes and watch the videos on my tablet or mobile phone?

What if I have a technical issue like I can't log in or forgot my password, etc?

What if I have a question about the material in one of the lessons?

What is your refund policy?  Is there a guarantee?

What happens after you buy the Portrait Fundamentals course?

Step 1: Complete the checkout and enroll in the course.

Step 2: You'll receive an email  with all the details. 

Step 3: You will get immediate access to the course.

I’m Darlene, the creator of
Digital Photo Mentor

I have taught hundreds of aspiring photographers just like you.

For some, photography was a career change, while others just wanted to learn for fun and take better photographs on vacation, and photos of their family and friends.

But what I noticed was that they all ran into the same problems, had the same questions, and many shared the same fears.  

darlene hildebrandt beginner photography course instructor

Darlene Hildebrandt  //  Your natural light instructor

Darlene Hildebrandt, has been doing portrait photography for over 30 years and has photographed over 250 weddings. 

She helps people like you demystify portrait lighting and feel like a real pro. In 2011 she started teaching photography and her passion was reignited by helping others just like yourself.

Now she has taught hundreds of students to take baby steps and learn about better portrait lighting and can’t wait to help you do it too.

Bruce Clarke  //  Your off-camera flash instructor

Bruce Clarke has been a professional photographer using flash on and off-camera for over 15 years. 

Bruce is known for being able to capture that special moment by freezing it in time with his flash.

Can you relate to any or all of the following?

  • Fumbling with camera settings and missing a shot.
  • Photos which lack interest or don't capture the scene as you envisioned.
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    Blurry images and sharpness issues.
  • How to compose images with more impact and depth.
  • How to see light and use it effectively and appropriately.
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    Not knowing which lens to use in a situation and why.

Buy it now and save $100 (regular $197) 
Special offer for Photoshop & Photography Facebook Group

Have any questions about the Portrait Fundamentals photography course? Drop us a line, or use the chat box in the bottom of the site.  When it says ONLINE, we're here to help you live and in person!

Copyright 2019, Digital Photo Mentor