Lighting is a skill that is learned over time as a photographer. However, there are some tips that can easily have you’re images looking great.
- Don’t use dappled light!! – using dappled light creates confusion and mess in a portrait photograph.
- Makes sure you have a catch light in the eyes!!! – By having a spectacular highlight in the eye of your subject you give the eyes life. Without it you have a syndrome called dead eyes. To fix this just make sure that your subject is able to get some of the light source in the eye. Of course you can use this technique for purpose if you want to demonstrate mood.
- Location is not the be all and end all of a good portrait. The Light is the first consideration, doesn’t matter how amazing the location, if the light is crap the image won’t me much better!!
- Facing the mid-day sun!! Really, it’s really difficult to have someone look into the direction of the sun. Sometimes if you’re doing something creative and it’s a bit arty you can get away with it, but as a general rule if you must shoot in the mid-day sun, position your subject with their back to the direction of the sun and use something to reflect some light back into the subject. Better still, avoid the mid-day sun if you can and find a nice shady spot!
- Consider the direction of the light and what that is doing to the face of your subject. Be careful that the shadows and highlights are not to extreme unless of course that is what you are going for.
TAKE YOUR TIME!! What’s the rush? Take your time and look for good sources of light. I see many photographers almost panic and run around like crazy people looking for the best spot to shoot. Look for reflected light ( a white wall might be bouncing the light in a direction that you can use). Look for shade, look for the best possible light that you can, and if you can’t find it then use things like reflectors and fill flash to help the subject. Above all else practice and try out new things. Don’t be afraid to experiment and don’t be afraid to fail. We all do when we are learning, that what makes learning so fun!!