Regardless of the genre of photography you enjoy most, sooner or later you’ll be asked to shoot a few portraits of family or friends. Many photographers shy away from this task, either because don’t know where to begin, or they’re under the misconception that a studio and expensive/complicated lighting equipment is an absolute necessity.
One way to greatly simplify the task is to tackle the job outdoors and make use of available light to get the job done. If you’ve never considered this effective approach, today is your lucky day. That’s because in barely seven minutes you’ll learn five “must know” tips for capturing images that will make you and your models proud.
Instructor Kyle Kong is a professional photographer based in Vancouver, Canada who specializes in in shooting portraits on location. He sometimes employs simple strobes to augment ambient light, and he says, “For me portrait photography has always been challenging, rewarding, and most importantly fun.” You’ll be able to say the same thing yourself after giving his tips a try.
Cong’s goal with this straightforward tutorial is to help you capture flattering portraits “anywhere at any time,” and do so quickly and easily. Tip number one applies to many styles of photography including portraiture; namely, find a clean background so the subject stands out. That’s because, “your number one enemy is distraction.”
There are numerous ways to meet this goal when making outdoor portraits. Possibilities include shooting from a low angle with an interesting sky as the backdrop or using a high vantage point while pointing the camera downward with the ground framing the subject. Other viable options include taking advantage of a foggy day or sand on the beach.
Cong’s second suggestion is related to the first, as he demonstrates how to capture a variety of looks by shooting from interesting angles beyond those mentioned above. In other words, don’t just keep tripping the shutter from the same position, but experiment with altering your camera position for a variety of different looks. Even going from a vertical to horizontal perspective can make a big difference in how your portraits are perceived.
He also explains how to use natural light or a simple flash to separate a subject from the background and provide a 3-D effect, why adding interesting elements within the frame will add depth to an image, and how to employ subject movement to add a dynamic sense of motion to a shot.
Cong says, “these are the tips that I use on every single photoshoot, and you should too!.” After watching Cong work his magic pay a visit to his instructional YouTube channel where there’s much more to learn.
You’ll also want to pay close attention to the tutorial we posted recently in which another accomplished pro explains the benefits of choosing your camera’s Aperture Priority mode for shooting more creative photographs.