Tuesday, April 26, 2005

4. Lighting-
a. Lighting is very critical to a good photo.Pick mornings or evenings for outdoor portraits. Noontime sun can ruin a photo because of the overhead sun, which makes shadows. i.e. Eyes become black holes. See example below:

Example #5 -Overhead Light

b. Mornings vs. Evenings?
I personally prefer mornings since the sun, for the most part, will be coming up through the trees, which creates a diffusing factor. One must also be cautious of shadows as well. Evenings are good also, but remember that the intensity of the sun can sometimes be more difficult to work around depending on the setting.

c. If you have to shoot in the middle of the day, find shade for your subject.

d. Cloudy? Sunny? What do I do?
Most amateur photographers can get stuck on the thought of shooting on a sunny afternoon for that Kodak moment. Sunny does not always mean perfect, many times for the photographer sunny can be a major challenge. As I mentioned above, choose a time when the sun is not directly overhead. You don’t want a squinting model.

e. What about Cloudy days?
Cloudy is better…cloudy is EASIER! Yes, shooting on a cloudy/overcast day can be a great answer to some of your key lighting issues. For example, think about a studio light. They are not direct lights, but diffused lights enclosed in a soft box. Now look at the light you are using outdoors. A God-made soft box effect is created with the sun behind the clouds. Our Creator is wonderful, and cloudy days will now have a whole new meaning for you!

5. Don’t be Discouraged! –
Portraiture is something that requires not only good technique, but also creativity. Be sure to experiment a lot before taking a paid job. A good way to gain experience is through doing family members, or friends. Do a family for free, or have them pay for your expenses. The job might be free, but the experience you will gain will be priceless!

I hope that you found this article helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I am by no means an expert in this area, but can speak from some experience. If you have any other tips to add, feel free to leave a comment. Let me know your comments or questions.

God Bless,
Sarah DeLadurantey
Fringe Focus Editor/Contributor


  1. Anonymous10:37 PM

    Sarah, Love this blog! Great ideas and beautiful photos!
    Not surprised to see your talents going beyond music and teaching! You are truly amazing!

    I have a question..
    Once a year I have to take ~100 photos (to post on a website) of a dance recital. The problem I'm having is, the stage and auditorium are very dark.. they offer no additional lighting. Most of the photos taken cannot be used. Is there anything I can do to get around this "dark" problem? I'm using a 3MP digital camera, with digital zoom.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. Jane,

    Your problem has several aspects.
    #1-You are indoors, with indoor lighting (yellow/incandescent) which is not bright enough for most photos. Some of this can be eliminated by the white balance and exposure features (if you have that on your camera)

    #2 You have a small camera with a small flash. Most on-camera flashes only reach 10"-11" at most.For this reason even if you use your flash it will not reach your subject. You really need a better digital with a bigger flash to get better quality photos. Also if you had a digital SLR (yours is a point-and-shoot?)than you could adjust with f-stops and shutter speeds to try and overcome some of your lighting issues.

    Sorry that I don't have any magical answers other than an upgrade in cameras. Perhaps they could brighten the lighting inside?


  3. Sarah - great information :) Love this blog by the way - I've gotten some really great Ideas and tips! Keep up the good work!

  4. Christy,

    Thanks for the encouragement. I really needed to hear that today.


  5. Editors,

    Thanks for the tips! My photography tactics have always been "Quantity sometimes equals Quality". I haven't really taken the time to sit down and read books on photography, so a blog like this is an excellent supplement for me.

    Thanks again, and keep it up!


  6. Jonathan,

    Thanks for the comment. I hope that this blog will be appealing to those who might not really want to take the time to read a whole book, but do have a moment to read an article that may help them out a bit. Besides the fact that this is 'clean'photography info.

    Glad that you were able to be one of the first contributors to the 'Fringe in Focus'. We hope to have you write more in the future! Be sure to stay tuned, and see if you have any questions on your article that you may need to answer.

    Thanks again,


Would you like to read interviews from Marvelous Photo-bloggers??