Sue Bryce is a titan of the photography education circuit, with thousands upon thousands of photographers flocking to her workshops and events in an attempt to learn from the queen of glamour portraiture. Bryce has largely built this reputation over the years as an exclusively natural light photographer, but that has all changed now. Continue reading…
All images by Werner Philipps. Used with permission.
You wouldn’t think that despite the way that photographer Werner Philipps got his start in photography, he’d be shooting and creating incredible portraits. “A few years back I was planing an online shop as a secondary income.” says Werner. He purchased Canon EOS 20D; and the idea of the shop failed. Seeing that this happened, he didn’t want the purchase to go to waste. Afterall, it was an investment. “So one day I went on a day trip to Groningen (Netherlands) with a couple of friends and I took the camera and started taking pictures. Thats how it all started.”
Like many other photographers getting their start, Werner began by shooting everything out there. “From the flowers of the balcony to random street photography. At first I was really intimidated taking pictures of people but at the same time it was an opportunity to develop myself through photography.” With time though, Werner gathered himself and faced his fears. Soon, he began shooting portraits and getting out of his comfort zone.
Portraiture is something very personal. When you create an image of someone, you put your stamp on their likeness being documented. The image is a collaboration process–and when you combine this with all the fun that a scenic landscape or cityscape can provide mixed in with radiant natural light, you simply cannot go wrong.
Here are the details.
“I think good lighting is in the eye of the beholder” says Photographer Chris Burkard about how he shoots. “I love looking at the workof the old masters and they would find ways to manipulate light…” Indeed, he’s one of the more popular photographers to pop in the past couple of years. For Chris, he tells Silber Studios in a video (after the jump) that he stresses about angles.
“Sometimes it can be the difference between standing up and shooting and squatting down and shooting.”
Chris thinks that images don’t come easy to him and instead it’s all about studying a scene. He also states that he doesn’t like replicating things. Instead he wants to create his own mark.
When you’re first starting out shooting portraits, it can be kind of nerve wracking. But in all honesty, it’s simpler than you think. Once you’ve got the technical tips down, you’ll be able to focus on the artistic parts of actually creating a compelling portraits.
Here’s a checklist.
Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click here.
When shooting portraits in natural light there are three different scenarios: in full blown sunlight, in the shade, or a combination of the two. Each lend themselves to different situations and effects, but by far the most reliable for a standard portrait is to shoot in the shade.
The biggest reason: consistent lighting.
With two types of light, you’re getting a result that you need to meter twice for.
With sunlight, you’re often getting a result where you may create unflattering shadows or have a super crazy difference in metering (which could be okay).
But when shooting in the shade, you get completely even lighting to work with when it comes to the exposures. The lighting also usually comes from the side if you’re working with something like an awning. This can give off a natural softbox effect.
Keep this in mind when shooting portraits!
All images by Béatrice Schuler. Used with permission.
Béatrice Schuler hails from Nova Scotia, Canada) fell in love with photography, lab work, and film in her teenage years. After a successful career in a different field, she rediscovered her initial passion several years ago. She tells us that she’s in love with lots of genres–street photography, landscapes, animals, food photography, etc. What she likes above all is playing with shadows and light, and “catching” moments of life.
And more importantly for some of you, she’s a lover of natural light.
“Feed me!!!” That’s pretty the major demand to give into when it comes to photographing dogs–and specifically puppies. It can be even tougher when you’re working with one that has lots of energy; but the folks over at Weekly Imogen have a couple of really good and interesting solutions beyond just giving the pup lots of treats.
All images by André Josselin. Used with permission.
Personal portraiture is something that is very intimate and involves the process of capturing who a person is and documenting natural beauty. That’s what photographer André Josselin tries to do. The 29-year-old Cologne-based photographer started out five years ago and has since grown quite the fanbase on social media.
It has gained him the recognition of Tatort (a popular German television series), ADOBE, NIKE, Carl Zeiss, UFA Production, Soccerbible, and C-Heads Magazine, among others.
We found his work on Behance not long ago, and got to talking to him about creating the perfect photo, natural light’s beauty, and not being the creepy photographer.
Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click here.
Illuminating someone’s face when using a flash is pretty simple to do and really all about positioning more than anything else. Best of all, you can do it all with one light source.
If you’re using natural light:
– Don’t have your subject look into the sun.
– Find diffused light; like that under a tree, awning, or in a building.
– Preferably, find a reflective surface that bounces light back into the person’s face.
– Place the reflected light source in front of or slightly to the side of the person.
If you’re using a flash in the hot shoe:
– Bounce the flash output off of a surface to the side and slightly behind you.
– Have the subject face you directly.
– Do not bounce the flash directly off of the ceiling. You’ll create shadows under the eyes.
If you’re using a flash/strobe out of the hot shoe:
– Put the flash in a large modifier–one that is larger than the person’s face
– Place the light modifier with the flash in front of the subject/slightly to the side
In all of these situations, try to turn the subject’s face slightly towards the light source. This will create more direct illumination onto the eyes.
That beautiful natural light effect that everyone loves in their food photography can be created at any time of day or night–and you don’t need to wait for the best times of the day for it to happen. By using a flash (mostly out of the hot shoe but sometimes in it) you can create those really beautiful food photos that make you want to indulge in all the things.
And to be honest, it’s really, really not hard to do. If anything, food photography with a flash is a one trick pony and what will make the images better are adding textures and interesting compositions/patterns. That part is all up to your own creative freedom.
Here’s how you can use flash for better food photography.
Photographer Jenny Woodward recently uploaded a fantastic instructional video to Vimeo on how to get better food photos with window light. The even cooler thing is that everything that she uses to create the better images are household items. She starts by placing a table by a window and blocking off excess light to make it more directional. Then it’s all about diffusing, filling in shadows, and placement of the objects. She uses simple things like tin foil, curtains, foam board, etc.
Even cooler–she creates better images with just her phone. No need for a really fancy camera at all especially when you understand lighting this well.
Her video is after the jump.
Before we begin this article, let’s make this clear: never call yourself a natural light photographer. But beyond that, know the basics. Portraiture is hard enough but actually make the most of natural lighting is really a skill. It isn’t as simple as going out there and just shooting. Indeed, knowing how to use natural light in the best ways has to do with actually knowing how to look at light and judge how it will appear in an image.
Though we always tell folks to learn how to use a flash, here’s how to make the most of what you have if all you have is natural light.
There are lots of cool things that you can do with off-camera lighting that can give you better photos or help you get your creative vision across much better when natural light isn’t available. It can also be very fun to do if you’re willing to experiment. We’ve rounded up a number of hacks that you can do with a hot shoe flash and that can be done in the convenience of your own home with stuff you most likely own or can create in the span of a weekend.
Give these a try and let your creativity run this weekend.
Food photography isn’t tough to do, but good quality food photography can be incredibly tough. It’s all about timing, composition, colors and lighting. Good food photography whets an appetite and elicits emotions connected to food. If you can make someone smell the Mac and Cheese that you just cooked, then you’re well on your way to making better food images.
Here’s how to go about shooting better food images by using one light and keeping it simple.
Yes, you’ve heard of the Golden Hour, but do you know about the Blue Hour? Or have you ever looked at the quality of the sun before sunset happens and after it’s at its highest point during the middle of the day? It can be beautiful for so many different types of photos. While everyone will tell you to go shooting only during the golden hour, we think that you shouldn’t limit yourself to only these times. If you’re shooting portraits, you can use the shadows and if you’re shooting all other types of images you should just embrace the light at other times.
Here are the best times to shoot using natural light.
When it comes to creating portrait photos, you’ll need to understand that the process is in some ways a collaborative effort. But it also requires empathy, understanding and a creative vision. You’ll need to be specific about posing, and have a knowledge of how the person will actually look on camera. The best way to do that is to go ahead and make lots of mistakes, figure out solutions, apply them and re-shoot.
But to help you along the way, we’ve got an Introduction to Shooting Better Portraits compiling lots of information right here for you.
Most photographers would prefer to shoot in natural light–but the inherent problem with it has to do with making it look better when taking photos. More often than not, the sun can create lots of harsh shadows unless it’s being diffused by a cloud.
So how do you tame it? Photographer Craig Beckta suggests using a five-in-one reflector and a shoot through umbrella, two of the same items that we strongly recommend. His video below the jump illustrates what shooting with regular sunlight looks like, using tree shadows, a shoot through reflector, golden, white, silver and a shoot through umbrella.
The biggest advantage that Craig doesn’t mention though is that by using a five in one reflector, you make the most of the time available to you and your subject. There are many of photographers who will specifically wait until the golden hour or for a cloudy day. But that means that you only have such a narrow shooting time, which can limit you when a possible schedule conflict arises.
Craig’s video on Natural Light for Portrait Photos is after the jump. But also be sure to check out our tips on taking the best advantage of natural light, backlighting your portraits, and how to use it during weddings.
When it comes to lighting, you should absolutely never skimp on it when it comes to your photos. Photography is all about the act of capturing light and recording it. But knowing how to work with both natural light and artificial light is a skill.
Lucky for you, we’ve got over 53 solid lighting tutorials for you right here.
This post builds on our original lighting index.
All images by Radu Dumitrescu. Used with permission.
Radu Dumitrescu is a photographer based in Bucharest who recently undertook a fairly challenging gig–photographing food and making it look incredible. A local bakery by the name of PlayBake hired him to make their food look amazing. “They make these delicious products with very good ingredients, and they all have a rough, almost unfinished, home-made aspect.” says Mr. Dumitrescu. “My purpose was to shoot with an editorial approach.” This means that he needed more of a lifestyle product photography frame of mind to deliver the images to his client.
“I wanted to make people feel the same way I did when I was there, just by watching the photos.”
One of the absolute toughest technical things that you can learn in photography is how to create images that effectively blend both natural and strobe lighting. It’s a fine art in and of itself that requires carefully paying attention to certain aspects of the scene and having a distinct knowledge of shadows and how they can affect the final image. Then it also requires knowing how to either boost the abilities of natural light or filling in areas that you feel your final scene needs.
Here’s how to do it with some knowledge from the very start.