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Image credit: Liz Ham

This Friday we have our amazing free portrait photography workshop, led by three wonderful but very different photographers. They will talk about their unique styles of portraiture and offer professional tips for improving yours!  To give you a taste of what’s to come, we had a quick chat with each of them to ask for just one piece of advice about how to go about making a great portrait.

Today we approach Liz Ham for her tip.

Liz has been a professional photographer for over 20 years and straddles the genres of social documentary, portraiture, and fashion. Her work is infused with nostalgia and narrative, often exploring ideas around identity and subculture. She has been a finalist in the Blake Prize, Fishers Ghost Art Award, The Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize, and of course the Head On Portrait Awards. Her work has been exhibited and acquired by internationally acclaimed institutions. Liz was also on the curatorial selection team for Head On Photo Festivals 2020 and 2021.

Image credit: Liz Ham

Like Gary, Liz stresses that there are a variety of approaches and people are so varied it is difficult to give only one piece of advice.

She prefers to get to know her subject prior to taking a portrait, explaining that her premise in portrait photography is to let a rapport evolve between subject and photographer.  She suggests letting your subject have some insight into what you have in mind for the session but also to remain open for what may unfold.

In a nutshell, Liz’s advice to make the best portrait you can is to:

“communicate openly with your subject, remain empathetic towards them and let a rapport develop between you.”


Thanks to Liz for that great tip!  We’re looking forward to talking with Meg Hewitt tomorrow – so stay tuned for that. And meanwhile don’t forget to sign up for Friday’s free workshop here.




Enter Head On Photo Awards


Image credit: Liz Ham



Head On Foundation (est. 2008) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting photographers' work at all career stages. We encourage excellence and innovation, make photography accessible to all, and raise awareness of important issues through the medium. The Foundation's main activities are Head On Photo Festival and Head On Awards (Portrait, Landscape, and Student photographic prizes) and an annual program of collaborative projects. Head On Foundation is a bridge between Australian and international photography markets. The festival has toured in the US, China, India, Europe, and New Zealand, introducing the global arts community to the wealth of photographic talent Australia possesses.

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Head On Photo Awards 2024

Entries to the Head On Photo Awards 2024 open in May/June.

Image detail: Gary Ramage