How To Capture a Great Portrait Photograph

Where Next, Hereford
3 min readFeb 9, 2017



I am not a great fan of having my photo taken. If I’m with family, friends or actually doing something, then that’s not so bad, but having to ‘pose’ for a photograph does something most unusual to me. I almost forget how my face works and I either gurn like a 90’s raver or simply keep my eyes closed in the hope that it will all be over very soon….

Suffice to say, when I was recently asked to provide a head-shot to accompany an article I had written, my metaphorical ‘portrait photographs’ cupboard was somewhat bare….I succumbed to a selfie, the result of which was no Testino, I can tell you. The sun bleaching out half of my face and causing a slight squint was one thing — the look of confusion as I try to press the button without wobbling the camera was…well…quite another.

Blurred and Confused!

Thankfully, help came in the form of fantastic photographer Gabriella Karney, who offered me a great package of portrait photos and a promise that she would capture my character and not the gurning chipmunk that normally appears at the sight of a lens. She was right — we had such a fun session in her studio and then out and about in Hereford. As we chatted and laughed our way through the shoot, Gabi made me feel completely at ease — to the point that I became totally unaware of her camera. The resulting photos are fab and now I have my own stock to supply as and when the call comes in!

Photographed by Gabriella Karney (thank goodness!).

Gabi moved from London to Herefordshire three years ago and now runs her Photography business from her Hereford-based studio.

We asked Gabi for 5 top tips on capturing a great portrait photo:

  1. ‘For me, a great portrait is ‘all about the eyes’. It always has been and always will be. My keen interest in photography started with taking photos of my children trying to capture the twinkle in their eyes.
    Today my aim is still the same: I believe that eyes provide a window into a person’s character; my aim is to capture that captivating look.’
  2. ‘One photo does not fit all; think about who is going to be looking at your profile picture and tailor that image to best fit your target audience. I like to create a portfolio of different images for my clients that can be used for different audiences and in different situations.’
  3. ‘Try to convey approachability in your photo. Combine this with…
  4. Confidence! Approachability and confidence are a winning combination in a portrait photograph.’
  5. As a photographer I try get to know my clients and to reflect their character via the photos. I like to spend a bit of time with my clients pre-shoot exchanging anecdotes not just about work but family, food, places they’ve visited — not only will this put them at ease but I will develop a ‘fuller picture’ of their personality to create and design that perfect image.’

You can see more of Gabi’s work over on her Facebook Page:



Where Next, Hereford

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