This week, I want to help newer photographers to understand how to get great pictures without flash. Where can you find the best light? I will show some examples of how to work with the light you already have.
In this picture of the little girls eating watermelon, you will notice that there is spotty shade in the background. It is important not to have them facing in that direction, because it would be spotty white spots on their faces, but I’ve put their backs to the sun and have them sitting on a white blanket, which reflects light back up into their faces. It works like a white reflector. The hats also shade their face from the sun.
In this image of a high school senior girl, you will notice a light in her eyes. You can tell the direction the sun is coming from, but the reason this works, is because of the dark background of the railing, and also the sun is overcast by clouds. This filters the sun a bit, and it isn’t as bright on her face. On a sunny day, I will usually wait for the sun to go behind the clouds before I snap the
This image was taken out at the Rifle River Recreation Area. It was later in the day, almost sunset, which makes the light a soft golden glow. The water helps to reflect the light up into this high school senior’s face.
When you are outside, you want to look to where the light is coming from. If there is any open sky & overcast, that makes for some nice light.
In this image out in the open field with full sun, you can see a spot of shade around the little girl. We used an umbrella to shade her from the direct sun.
If you have a darker background than your subjects, and they are facing the light, your exposure will adjust easier.
Always look for the shady side of a building. The light coming from the front will light your subject, but their face will be in the shade. That’s called “open shade”.
So here are 7 different ways you can try to get good portrait images. I hope you can try out a different one each day, or at least keep them in mind when you are out with your smart phone & enjoying time with your friends!
Have you ever tried taking pictures of your kids and not gotten any cooperation out of them? Or they give you that fake smile, or even end up crying out of frustration. Or you are the one that ends up crying out of frustration!
I’ve got a few tips on getting kids to cooperate when you are trying to take pictures of them.
Many parents have their kids home now everyday with the Covid-19 quarantine, so it’s a great time to try to document your days with them, and also try to get some nice pictures.
One way to get them to sit still for some pictures, is to give them something to do. Do you have something interesting that they can play with? I have an old typewriter and some old junk cameras that kids just love to play with. That keeps them busy and you might just get a natural smile out of them!
Another fun thing is to get the dress up clothes out. Little girls especially like to play princess or try on mom’s shoes, hats, jewelry and dresses.
Boy’s enjoy trying to look like a clown or a superhero.
Do you have any old costumes laying around for them to play with? Going through things in the attic would make some great memories.
I tend to keep all the old glasses we grow out of, even if it’s just in case we need parts. Kid’s would love to try on old glasses. Keep a mirror nearby, so they can see what they look like.
You can even just take a picture of their image in the mirror! Playing games is also very fun for kids. Playing hopscotch, interacting with each other, playing board games, cooking something simple, pretending to have a tea party or picnic.
Here, we took a walk in the woods and looked at all the different leaves. We found a large one, so I tore a hole in it and peeked through. Then handed it to the child and she peeked back!
Make sure you have your camera ready for these fleeting moments!
Making seed pods fly as far as they can, is such a fun game.
It can be fun for them to do things like having a race with another sibling, jumping as high as they can or have them make the scariest face they can. There always seems to be a genuine smile or outright laugh right after a scary face.
If your child is very young, say 2 or 3 years old, you may be able to keep them in one spot by giving them something to do, like giving them a pan and wooden spoon and making a drum.
Also, for that age, peek-a-boo can be fun and captivating! Another thing that works is to put something in their pocket and have them try to guess what it is. Give them clues and then let them take it out of their pocket. You'll get that natural smile when they finally get to see what it is.
Bubbles are another thing that kids just love to do. Whether it's making their own bubbles or running a bubble machine and having them run around popping them, it makes taking their picture so much fun.
Once you get the kids having a good time, they just start finding their own fun ideas for you to photograph. If you act goofy with them, they will play along!
Getting siblings to play games together can be fun. Big sister giving little sister a piggy back ride can bring on natural smiles!
The thing with taking kid's pictures is to make it fun. They don’t like to be posed. They will not cooperate if you try to force them to sit quietly and smile for the camera. So spend some quality time with your kids, play some games and just keep clicking!
In my next article, I will give help on how to find good light so you can get great pictures inside or out. If you would like me to alert you to my next article, just fill out the form below.