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5 Mistakes that Make Pro Photographers Look Like Amateurs

Why are you making these same old errors in your work?
Photo for pro portrait mistakes

You’ve spent a lot of time, energy and hard work building a pro photography career so why are you making the same old mistakes that undermine your success? That’s the gist of pro portrait photographer Manny Ortiz‘s opinionated video below where he outlines “five mistakes that make you look like an amateur photographer.”

As we’ve already noted, these five technical mistakes are based on Oritz’s opinion so take them with a grain of salt…and a sense of humor. As you’ll see, he’s not being entirely serious. (Or is he?)

It’s worth a look and a listen though to make sure you’ve moved past these “amateur” errors in your work. In the video below, Ortiz teams up with his wife and frequent model Diane to explain these five portrait photography mistakes.

#1 Avoid the Pleasantville Look

“The Pleasantville look is when the person is in color and the background is in black-and-white. In 2021, you’ve got to make up your mind. It screams amateur hour. It used to be a cool thing. I thought it was cool. I even did it for weddings. Oh my god, I should apologize to them right now for that. It’s not a thing anymore.”

#2 Avoid the Raccoon Look

“You want to make sure you’re getting light in the eyes. If you don’t see the reflection of the light in the eyeball, you may want to get some light in there. Because if you’re lighting up the forehead and you’ve got a big shadow circle in the eye, that’s not good. You don’t want the eyes to look dead.”


#3 Avoid Your Model Looking Amputated

“This happens when you’re taking a lot of photos. You find one that you like: she’s looking good, the light is looking good, the composition’s looking good but it looks like she’s missing an arm. It could just be a slight angle, or a slight shift and the arm looks like it’s missing or the leg looks like it’s missing. Not a good look.”

#4 Avoid the Undertaker Look

“The undertaker look is when you see a lot of white in the eyeball. Everyone has different eyes but sometimes when you ask a model to look to the right and they look mostly with their eyes and all you’re seeing is white. That’s when you want to ask them to make sure their chin follows their eyes.”

#5 Lose the Logo

“I used to do this all the time where I would put a massive watermark on my images. If you’re blasting a big old logo on your photo, it takes away from the photo. It’s kind of a distraction.”


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