Tip 1: Making sure you have light
You can’t take a good portrait without light. The easiest light to work with is natural light; but shooting in direct sunlight usually produces harsh and unflattering photos. Here’s the first tip: look for closed or open shade around a few hours after sunrise or before sunset.
Closed shade is normally found under an overhang or under a tree. Open shade is when a building or something large is blocking the sun. If you look up and see the sky, you are in open shade. If you can’t see the sky, you’re in closed shade. How does this help us? This will light our subject evenly without harsh shadows on their face.
Tip 2: Remove distracting backgrounds
When taking a portrait, look for distracting elements in the background. Sometimes you just need to move a few inches in either direction or use the subject to block it out.
Tip 3: Fill the frame
When taking a portrait, zoom in tight on the subject – making them the sole focus of the photo. If you don’t have a zoom lens, move closer to your subject.
The best part of photography is learning something new. The worst part is forgetting something you were already taught. Making a conscious effort while practicing will commit tips to muscle memory and soon, without thinking, it will become second nature.
Currently he is teaching workshops, writing for Photofocus and creating tutorials for various plug-in companies and for the Vanelli and Friends series.
You can find out more about Vanelli at www.VanelliandFriends.com
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