6 Tips and Pointers for Shooting Portraits Using Natural Light
Shooting in natural light can be a lot of fun, not to mention extremely rewarding.
Shooting portraits in natural light, however, is a little different ball game altogether. There are certain procedures and techniques that one might employ to really make those outdoor portraits stand out. There are also precautions one might take to ensure clean and crisp results.
The word portrait covers a broad spectrum of possible photo types. Figure out what the portrait is for.
Is it an artistic endeavor or for a business? Is it paid or personal? Is there anything you might need apart from the subject themselves?
These questions will prepare you. You will be better equipped to deal with other variables that might arise when shooting outdoors.
Oh, Where Oh Where
Figure out and possibly scout your location well in advance. Know where you want to shoot, know what possible whether or environmental variables you might need to take into account.
Most importantly, get a sense of what the light looks like at your location during different times of the day as well as shadows and obstructions that might be present.
It’s all about the Lighting
When working with natural light, you need to have a good sense of how different lighting affects factors like color, glare and shadows. Get a clear sense of the kind of lighting you are looking for in your shoot.
Tally the time of the day where your location is lit the way you fancy with your shoot timings. This way, you won’t have to play it by ear on the day, twiddling your thumbs till the shadows are right!
Know your Equipment
It is highly likely that you might need to re-adjust your camera settings a little to bring out the most of the natural lighting. Know your equipment well.
Start the basics, e.g. aperture, white balance and shutter speed and take on more as you progress.
The more you master your equipment, the easier it will become for you to find the right settings and really make the most of the natural light you are shooting in.
Rays of Light
You might want to use natural indoors as well. Natural light rays when filtering through an open door or crack in the windows onto your subject can sometimes produce the most beautifully dramatic effect. Shifting focal points from brighter areas to darker produce drastically different end results. Blinds and curtains help diffuse overwhelming light. Remember, closer to the light source means higher contrast!
All about your Subject
Last, but surely not least, is your subject. How well you communicate, how you position them and where you focus on their bodies or faces all comes into play.
When going in for individual portraits for example, it makes sense to make the subject’s eyes your point of focus.
Stay in tune with the person or persons you are working with. Experiment with multiple positions and be kind! You don’t want to drain them before you do your batteries!
This is nowhere near a guide or a lesson in natural light portraits. It is merely a prelude to what you would need to take into account when shooting portraits in natural light.
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