Improve Your Outdoor Portraits
Tips From A Pro On Lighting, Posing, And More Page 2
4) Avoid Direct Sunlight
Now stick with me on this one. I love shooting on sunny days. I get an energy and warmth from the light that I love. But I don't use it shining directly on my subjects' faces. I use it behind them. I use it bouncing off buildings, sidewalks, trucks, and more. I use the open shade I get standing next to buildings and trees. But I don't use it shining on their face. Why? It's just way too "hard." It's a sharp, unflattering light that will create deep shadows. It will make people squint. It's just plain bad, bad, bad.
5) Use Large F/stops
As you can see, it's all about keeping the attention on the subject. Here's a little experiment for you: Take a model, your camera, and a tripod to a location you like. Take a photo of him or her at f/16 and another at f/4. Take a look at the two prints or digital images. In the f/4 photo, the subject will stand out from the background. In the f/16 image, they will be a part of it. The image size you make will matter, as will the distance between subject and background. Try a 3/4 length pose and you'll see what I mean. Ask your subject which one he or she likes better. I'm betting it's the f/4 shot.
All images taken with a Fujifilm FinePix S2 Pro camera, ISO 200, highest quality JPEG, Tamron 28-105mm f/2.8 zoom except the wide angle, which is a Sigma 17-35mm wide angle zoom. Model: Carolyn Barker.
Both in the studio and outdoors we usually try to create or find soft, flattering
light. You aren't going to find it at high noon in the middle of the mall
parking lot. This article is not about the many subtle nuances that make daylight
a joy, but if you can just keep faces out of the sun, your portraits will improve
tenfold. Remember, our objective is to flatter.
Well, that about wraps this up. If you're new to portrait photography or just want to generally improve your people pictures, following these five points will greatly improve your work. Remember, rules are made to be broken, and you can take great wide angle portraits in a cluttered warehouse at f/16, but follow these guidelines for great portraits that your subjects will love!
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