Hey strobist photographers: if you’re shooting a portrait of someone, the best thing that I’ve learned over the years is to actually make them face your artificial key light source. Of course, you wouldn’t do this with a natural one light the sun–but you can surely create more flattering portraits with a strobe or flash in a light modifier like a softbox, umbrella, etc.
Having your subject face the light source:
- Makes the light look softer
- Makes the light more flattering
- Eliminates shadows on their face and sometimes body that may otherwise be unflattering
- Gives them what I like to call the flattering spotlight effect.
When they’re facing the light source and the light source is shining directly down onto them, they’re illuminated to a certain point where they’re clearly made to be the main point of the photo. However, the light source isn’t as harsh as a spotlight, so it’s naturally more flattering.
As an extra tip: place the modifier so that the actual source of light is slightly above eye-level of the subject.
Also note: It doesn’t need to be direct; the light source can be slightly off to the left or right too.