If it flies, I shoot it!
Portraits are not something I'm comfortable with, not that I don't enjoy it - I just haven't really done a lot of it.
- I've got to give direction? But birds don't take direction?
- Reflectors and light modification? I only use fill flash??
- Post processing? There are no feathers, what the heck do I do!?
Get out and do it
For me, the best way was to get with a few guys and gals who know what they're doing. We spent a couple days in South Dakota with a few "hired hands" as models. It was a relaxed, low pressure environment, working on posing, atmosphere, composition and edits. Now, I'm certainly no portrait wiz - but I have a feel for it now and the basic techniques to apply. This gives me enough confidence to continue learning on my own.
There are other ways
I chose a mentored approach for this learning experience but books, videos, online training as well as trial and error can work just as well - what's comfortable for you? With a little of all of the above, I taught myself macro photography in a low stress environment over time, it worked well!
So get out there and try something new, you'll be surprised at how quickly you'll learn to extend your techniques.
Stay in focus,