- Doug Box’s Guide to Posing for Portrait Photographers
- Stunning Portrait Photography- Posing and Lighting!
- Step by Step Posing for Portrait Photography
- Master Posing guide for Portrait Photographers
- Posing for Portrait Photography
- Lighting for digital photography
- Cristopher Grey’s Studio Lighting Techniques for Photography
- Master Lighting Guide for Portrait Photographers
- 2013 Photographer's Market: The Most Trusted Guide to Selling Your Photography
- Best Business Practices for Photographers
- The Fast Track Photographer Business Plan: Build a Successful Photography Venture from the Ground Up
- Group Portrait Photography Handbook
- The Best of Family Portrait Photography: Professional Techniques and Images
- 500 Poses for Photographing Group Portraits
- 75 Portraits: Lighting and Posing Techniques for Portrait Photographers
- The Portrait Photographer's Guide to Posing
- Portrait Photographer's Handbook
- 500 Poses for Photographing Women
- 500 Poses for Photographing Men
- Posing for Portrait Photography: A Head-to-Toe Guide for Digital Photographers
- Doug Box's Guide to Posing for Portrait Photographers
Don't Have Your Subject Facing the Sun
Although the sun is a nice source for lighting, your subject will have a hard time keeping her eyes open, and squinting does not make a particularly attractive portrait. A person's eyes are what usually draws us in the most so you don't want to do anything to ruin that engaging factor. If it's a clear day, the sun can also cast some very hard shadows on your subject which may or may not be what you want. In particular , watch out for shadows cast by your subject's nose.
Shoot Into the Sun for Rim Lighting
It is often said that shooting into the sun is a bad thing, but it's not so much that it's bad rather than it just takes some time to learn how to do it correctly. Auto mode is not going to give you the photos you want if you're shooting into the sun. Since your subject is heavily backlit, your camera will typically want to expose for the background, making your subject underexposed. When shooting into the sun, you simply need to find a way to balance out the contrast difference, and there are three common ways to do this: use a flash, use a reflector, or overexpose your scene. If you don't have a flash or reflector and your background is not a priority, you can adjust your exposure so that your subject appears normal even if the background is overexposed.
Either way you do it, shooting into the sun will give you a nice rim lighting on your subject which highlights the edges of your subject's body, particularly the hair and shoulders. This looks great and works to pull your subject out from the background.
Use a Flash or Reflector
Flashes and reflectors are great tools to use when shooting outside because you can use them to fill in shadows. Both will work about the same. Reflectors will tend to provide a softer light unless you have some kind of diffusion for your flash. Depending on how powerful your flash is or how close the reflector is to your subject, you can control how much the shadows are affected. You can eliminate them or simply soften them. Don't be afraid to experiment with position. Move your flash or reflector above, below, or beside your subject until you find what works for you.
Shoot in the Shade or on a Cloudy Day
Diffused light is perfect for shooting portraits. You don't get the high contrast and harsh shadows you do on a clear, sunny day. Instead, you get a nice soft light that has smooth shadows and a lower contrast. Shooting in the shade is different from shooting on a cloudy day, but both provide a more even lighting to work with.
Avoid Mixed Light
Shooting outside, you won't have to worry about different color temperatures, unless you're using a flash, but you do have to watch out for places where you might get strange patterns of light and shadow. The most common occurrence of this is when the sun shines through the trees. This can often create a grid of bright and dark spots on your subject's face and body which is both unflattering and almost impossible to fix in post-processing. If you are using a flash, you may find that it produces a different color of light than the sun. To fix this, try using a warm-colored gel over your flash.
Image credit: prometeus / 123RF Stock Photo
Written by Spencer Seastrom