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.
Fringe Focus Editor/Contributor