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Thursday, August 14, 2008



A very important factor when shooting portrait of your children or family is the light.By understanding how lighting
affects a scene and by learning how to light people,
you can improve your portrait images.

Harsh Flat Light-A common blunder that occurs when people photograph their family, friends, or general portrait situations is they position themselves between the sun and their subject, with the sun at their back, providing the most light on their subject’s face.This not only causes the subject to squint heavily - since they are forced to stare directly into the sun - but now the light created on the subject and surroundings is flat and boring
Ambient or Diffused Light-Instead try a few different methods when it comes to capturing people.First off,try photographing them in ambient light,that is non-directional light where it is equally intense everywhere,such as shade,the diffused light from an overcast sky,or non-direct light that enters a window.This offers little or no shadows on a face providing beautiful soft complementary for most people
Backlight-Another method is to turn your subject away from the direct sun allowing their eyes to relaxed while taking their photograph. Called backlighting (the sun at the subject's back), it's an easy way to provide even light on faces while creating a more dramatic feel. Pop in a little fill-flash to brighten the shadows on the face, and now you're working with two light sources (the sun, creating rim light on their hair and body, and your flash creating even light on the face).
Side-lighting-And the last approach is to side-light your subject. This gives them depth and dimension through the highlights and shadows cast on their face (as well as on the setting or landscape). Side lighting can also thin out a face, since only half or part of it is lit, giving the appearance of a more narrow face, but side lighting can also create more shadows showing visible lines or wrinkles in a face as well.Just remember, your lighting can not only help you create a more interesting portrait, but can also determine the look and feel of the image.

2.The Background

Most of the time you will need a background that will support the image of a person with out competing with the subject.Sometimes you can use a background that helps telling the story of the persons being photographed.The first thing you need from a background is size. I think that 9X20 feet is the minimum. Why so big? Well, the first reason is that you can do a head to foot shot on this size drop and have the subject standing on the background. Even a king-size sheet isn’t big enough for the subject to stand on.Another important aspect of a big background is that you don’t have to worry about whether you have enough on the sides. This frees up the photographer to move around in front of the subject. The other thing a big drop provides is the ability to move the subject away from the background so that you can adjust the light separately on the background from the subject. This provides a lot of ability to manipulate the color and density of the background without changing the subject.
The extra distance between the subject and the background means that we can solve the problems of shadows from the subject falling on the background.Generally you can use at least 5 feet between the subject and the background.


Full-length photos and head-and-shoulders shots always make for strong images. But don't stop there! Successful portraits also take the form of facial close-ups.Another option involves the environmental portrait - which shows a subject at work or at play, around the house, or on holiday. The trick to capturing priceless pictures of people in a natural environment? Make sure other elements in the scene don't detract from your star attraction.

4.Increasing ISO for Sharp Results

Sometimes when is a littel bit dark even with f/2.8 zoom lens.the shutter speed can be to slow,and this doesn't allow you to shoot without a tripod,just hand holding and expect sharp this case you need to boost your ISO from low to high(say from 100 to 800).The increase of 3 stops can allowed you to shoot at a shutter speed of 1/60 second, which works much better.With this shutter speed you can hand hold your camera.You always have to control your shutter speed as you begin to shoot,because many great images can be ruined because of camera motion resulting in a soft image.Though you can make effort to hold you camera as steady as possible,there is always a little vibration occurring.Its not a problem with fast shutter speeds.But when the shutter speed drops below 1/60,especially in combination with the use of focal lengths of 80mm and higher, there is an increased risk of softness due to camera movement. Noting your shutter speed before exposing the first frame helps you take the steps needed to make sure my photographs turn out tack sharp
Through increasing the ISO to 800 or even higher introduces more noise into the image,you have to choose from a noisy image that is sharp or a noiseless image that is soft.
You could lose some great shot,because you could have decided there wasn't enough light.Now the ability to change ISO on the fly,has provided the means to make quality images virtually anywhere.

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