It goes without saying – the advancement of modern technology over the last 10 years has been amazing.
Remember when we had different devices to make calls, take photographs, listen to music and keep track of our appointments?

It would seem EVERYONE and their mother has a mobile phone with a “decent” camera these days. We take hundreds of photos to savour memories of everyday life.

But what is it about professional photographs that makes them stand out from the rest?
The answer is pretty simple: Photographers go one step further – we don’t just take snapshots, we take portraits.

But what’s the difference?


  • Are taken spontaneously
  • Are taken to document a joyful moment
  • Freeze a moment in time, to be remembered later on
  • Have personal meaning to the photographer and the subjects


  • Require attention to detail
  • Are carefully thought out and planned
  • Take into consideration lighting, angles and composition
  • Are often processed to bring out the most in its subjects

So how do I turn my snapshots into portraits?

1) Plan your shot

Obviously, this doesn’t apply if the photo you take is a spur-of-the-moment capture of the kids playing with a relative.

If you do have the chance, plan for the photo to be taken in the evening, an hour or so before sunset (aka “Golden hour”). The lighting at this time of the day casts a dreamy golden glow and makes for beautiful photos!

2) Observe the lighting

Contrary to popular belief, sunlight is a photographer’s worst enemy. It creates harsh shadows on faces, especially under the eyes.
Position the sun behind your subject, so they are lit from behind. This keeps the sun off their face, and means they can look at you without squinting.
Or, as mentioned in the above point, aim for Golden Hour!

maternity bump photo outdoors sunset wooden bench

3) Remove background distractions

Background distractions can ruin a snapshot, so make sure you spare a moment to look around before you click that shutter!

4) Think about your composition/posing

In a snapshot, the subject is usually in the dead-centre of the frame. To make the photo more interesting, try changing your angle and placing the subject off-centre. Google “the rule of thirds” to understand more about where to place a subject in a frame.
If possible, avoid shooting a subject straight on. Have them turn at the waist and angle their shoulders back towards you.

5) Edit your photo in a photo app

Apps like VSCO, PicsArt and Snapseed are readily available on the App/Play Store and can transform a snapshot with just a few clicks!

Hopefully these tips help you turn your snapshots into portraits! If you would like to book a session to have your own portraits taken, click the button below!