So what’s the secret to great photography? I think it has everything to do with consistency; and that doesn’t just mean getting good results consistently with your portrait photography, but working in such a way that those results are virtually guaranteed. It’s about doing the same things with your lighting setups, flash photography settings, and camera settings every time. Basically, having a default place to start (that works to produce quality portraits every time).
I’ve called it “standardization,” but you can think of it as a personal process. Know how to lock down a method that works for you — that gets you the results you want — and use it over and over again. Tweak it, perfect it, make it almost effortless, and you’ll knock out better portrait photos almost without trying. Then, you’ll have plenty of time to try more creative stuff. And who knows? Maybe you’ll incorporate the new stuff you try into your current process.
Find the patterns and apply them to a process that you can count on. Your photography will improve tremendously.