Been seeing this topic come up on a few photography boards this week as the weather gets warm and sunny. People start to get outdoors with family and friends. The photographers bring their cameras ready to capture special moments and portraits of loved ones.
Sadly, many are not happy with their results. Most think they should put people right out in the bright sun. This is a no-no. Bright sun causes people to squint and deep shadows appear under their eyes. This is termed raccoon eyes and is none too faltering.
As all wedding photographers know, you move people into the shade. I can bet you have never seen a wedding party photographed in bright sunshine in the middle of the day. At least not from a good photographer. The shade gives a more pleasing light and people open their eyes. Getting everyone to not blink is a whole other story. 🙂
The background is very important for portraits. Open up the aperture to soften the background focus (see Bokeh). Make sure the background is pleasing with not a lot of bright and dark areas.
The last secret to a good outdoor portrait is using fill flash to further open up the shadows, bring out the color of a person’s skin and clothing and create those lovely catchlights in the eyes you see in fashion magazines.
Of course, you know me. I tend to use different subjects for my examples. Last year, I was fortunate to come across the lovely and narcissistic DiVine in Disney’s Animal Kingdom park. Using the Nikon 18-200VR zoom lens and Nikon SB-600 Speedlight flash, I got just the kind of outdoor portrait I aim for.
Flash notes: The SB-600 was set to Balanced Fill Flash mode with the power setting at -1.