Shooting a portrait is easy when you plan how you will shoot the person you intend to photograph. I find using props keeps your creativity fresh and exciting. I have a number of items nearby when photographing my subject. I use chairs, stools, benches along with many different pieces of fabric to be used in many different ways.
Using a simple two light set-up, one main or key light to light my subject from the front and I keep this light relatively close to the subject so as to make the light soft, the closer the light the softer the light. When you position the light too far away from your subject, the light becomes more contrasty and harder with stronger shadows. So use the main light with either a white umbrella fairly large or a shoot through umbrella for best results. A soft box will also work very well. I recommend staying away from gold or silver umbrellas as they are much more contrasty and not great for portraiture.
If the main light is set close to the subject the quality of the light is soft and far more pleasing. The second light is used as a rim or fill light. When using as a rim light you must set the intensity of the light one F:stop less than the main light, using the rim light with a 40º honeycomb grid is the perfect set-up and is very low price and available from Backdrop Outlet.
Backdrop Outlet Website
When you start shooting your portrait, use a chair as the perfect prop, stools and other benches work well to create a variety of poses.
Try some of my ideas out, you will be surprised as how easy it is to keep your photography fresh and exciting. See a good pose, copy it, no one owns or copyrights a pose.
Email me if you have questions or comments