Have you been taking advantage of all this wonderful weather and been snapping away from dawn until dusk?
On looking back at the portraits you’ve taken do you notice any of the following;
- A lot of squinting
- Harsh shadows
- Over-exposed/under-exposed images
- Bright background/subject in shadow
If so, read on and learn how to combat these tricky little issues
- Avoid the midday sun
It’s 12.30pm, it’s a lovely sunny day and you pop out into the garden to take some photos of the kids. This isn’t a great idea. Like the weatherman, photographers will tell you to ‘avoid the midday sun’. The harsh light of the sun at this time of day so terribly unflattering, giving you harsh shadows under your eyes, nose and neck along with an over the top contrast between light and dark. So if you fancy taking photos, get out early or wait around until the later on in the afternoon if this is possible. The light is softer and more complimentary on our skin.
- Use the shade
It may sound odd when you have blue skies and the sun beating down to move into the shade to take some photos but you’ll end up with better portraits. As mentioned above, the sun can create unsightly shadows across a person’s face. In the shade, the light is much softer and even. Sit your family down under a tree, as in the summer trees provide the perfect setting for photography. Archways, high walls, gazebos and parasols are other examples of shady places to use.
- Don’t look into the sun
Sounds like great general advice, but in terms of photographing people you should never have your subject facing towards the sun. They will end up squinting into the camera and it is not a good look. It is such a common mistake but is so easily fixed. It is also a good idea not to have the camera facing directly towards the sun, this can cause unwanted flare.
- Use flash
Flash? Only used when it’s dark? Simply not the case. Your on-camera flash is just as effective in the daytime as it is at night. This effect is called fill-in flash. When taking a photo of your children on a sunny day you might find that the background is captured perfectly, nice and bright, but little Louis looks quite dark in the foreground. There is too much of a contrast in light for the camera to handle. A very simple solution for this is to pop up your flash and take the photo again. This time the whole image is evenly exposed is Louis is clearly visible.
- Bring an umbrella with you
Not incase it rains, but for using it as a simple solution for creating soft, diffused light. A light coloured umbrella works best in this situation – clear umbrellas will not be much use. For a great head and shoulders shot get your subject to hold the umbrella, make sure you frame the image so the umbrella is out of view. The umbrella diffuses the light coming from the sun creating a softer light that is evenly spread over your subject.