Easy Portrait Tips Page 3

8. Use a Reflector

Reflectors are handy devices. You can use a reflector to add light to a backlit subject, or to give directionless lighting some direction. This shot was made in open shade, and a reflector was placed near the subject to his right to add light to that side of his face. The result is much more interesting portrait than one with even shade across the whole face. The effect of the reflector is fairly subtle, so watch carefully as you position the reflector. You can buy a photo reflector (a collapsible one that's silver on one side and white on the other is most versatile), or you can make your own by applying aluminum foil to one side of a large sheet of white poster board. Your reflector can also serve as a windbreak for close-up photography.
Photo by Jay Jorgensen

9. Take Advantage of Shadows

Strong shadows aren't necessarily a bad thing. You can use them artistically to add interest to a portrait. Here, low-angle late-afternoon sun cast shadows on the corner of the building behind the subject, and the photographer carefully composed the shot to make good use of them.
Photo by Jay Jorgensen

10. Check the Background

Probably the most common portrait mistake is not paying attention to the background. You become so fixed on the subject that you don't notice things like trees "growing" out of the subject's head, wrinkled collars and the like. Take a little time to check these things before you shoot. If there's a distraction in the background, move the subject and/or camera so the distraction is no longer there. If you can't move, shoot with the lens aperture wide open to thrown the background completely out of focus. But it's always best to frame without distractions, and generally not all that difficult. Often (as was the case here) a slight change is all that's necessary.
Photo by Lynn Eodice

ARTICLE CONTENTS
Share | |

X
Enter your Shutterbug username.
Enter the password that accompanies your username.
Loading