The Newbie's Guide to Outdoor Lighting for Portraits

Posted: Dec 04, 2018 | By Talk Bond | 0 | 3


Getting the right lighting is essential to a great photograph.  Even if you're just practising on your phone or a point-and-shoot before you commit to getting a single-lens reflex (AKA SLR or DSLR, the D stands for digital).  Before you start trying to learn indoor lighting, first you have to understand the basics!  

Whether you're snapping a selfie, taking pictures of a friend, or even getting a photo of your pet, you need to understand the most flattering lighting.  Outdoor portraits are best done on slightly cloudy days.  You don't want the sky to be too dark, but a little cloud cover is perfect.  The reason for this is because the light is diffused.  If you take portraits on a sunny day you're guaranteed to get harsh, unflattering shadows and we want our portraits to be beautiful!  These shadows tend to be the worst along the nose line and under the eyes, The exception to this rule is if you are taking the photos at dawn or sunset.  The golden light can be very flattering and give a nice warm tone to the photo.  

One thing you can do if you really want to take pictures on a very sunny day is to purchase a reflector.  Reflectors come in many sizes, but most photographers use a 42".  One great feature is that may reflectors are collapsible, which makes it a great tool because it's easy to carry and doesn't take up a lot of space.  The more equipment you have, the more you have to lug around to your location, and these lightweight reflectors are very convenient.  However, if you don't purchase a stand for them someone will have to hold it up or you can lean it against something so it is at the right angle to redirect the light on your subject.

As a professional model, I have to support my people, of course.  Many models just starting out will not ask you to pay them with money.  They need to build their portfolios and the

Outdoor lighting can be very fun to play with.  You can get beautiful backlighting and silhouettes, in addition to the typical portraits you see, but the instructions for those are a topic for a different day.  So have fun and play around!

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