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Maybe your brother-in-law wants a head shot for his blog... your cousin may want a photo to send her Internet dating beau... or your teenager doesn't want to spend the money for a school portrait. Whatever the reason, if you're handy with a camera, you'll be asked to shoot a portrait eventually.
And what's the #1 mistake with homemade portraits? An ugly or distracting background. Here's an easy way to make your protrait backgrounds look great - on the cheap...
You only need two ingredients for this quick fix: a door or tall bookcase and a clean, crisply pressed sheet. Hang the sheet carefully over the door or bookcase. (Make sure there are no wrinkles or creases.) Sit your subject 4' - 6' in front of your backdrop. Then fire away.
That's all there is to it. Now when you shoot protraits,you'll have no more embarrassing objects growing ot of heads, distacting background clutter or other problems that scream, "Amateur portrait!" to all your viewers.
Of course, there is one drawback. When your portraits start looking as good as a pro's, expect the rest of your relatives to come looking for you when they need a portrait, too.