Shooting portraits in direct sunlight: 3 tips

Many portrait photographers shy away from direct sunlight. The common wisdom is that you can’t capture beautiful portraits in harsh light but that’s simply not true. Any lighting source can be used to create either beautiful or unflattering portraits. It’s not the light; it’s what you do with it. Sometimes, I don’t get a choice about when or where a shoot takes place. If a midday shoot is the only time my client can do, then I risk losing the …

Studio-Style Rim Light With Two Windows

You don’t need flash to create a studio-style portrait like this one; you only need a little lighting know-how… One of the highlights of our year is spending a few weeks on a luxury cruise ship… working, of course. We’re taken onboard as the lead photographers, with a remit of capturing beautiful images of their clientele in the stunning surroundings of the ship (with no cheesy printed backgrounds in sight). On one particular cruise, we were looked after by a …

Outdoor Newborn Portrait

If it’s hot outside, here’s a newborn portrait that you can replicate. Everything is a potential source of inspiration: this one was inspired by a 1980s poster. It’s a rare day that photographers in the UK can shoot a nude newborn outdoors – the weather just isn’t warm enough most of the time. If you’re lucky enough to time a newborn shoot with that one balmy summer day we get, or if you live in more exotic climes, here’s a …

Using A House As A Reflector

Sometimes the best light is from an unexpected source: find out how I used the white wall of a house near my studio as a giant reflector for this portrait. I frequently use reflectors in my work to soften shadows and bounce light back on to my subject’s face. The bigger the reflector, the better, as a broader light source is softer and more natural-looking (you also don’t have to watch out for the edge of the reflector’s bounced light). …

Windowlit Groom’s Portrait at Le Manoir

We had just a couple of minutes to capture this portrait. To achieve it, I needed to consider the various light sources in the room, and pose this groom so he looked as relaxed as possible. To me, Eddie looks a little like George Clooney, and once I had that in mind it was hard to forget! This was taken on the morning of Eddie’s wedding, in the bar of Le Manoir. The light in there is really interesting as …

Topshade & Frames Within Frames

You can find top shade and framing devices in most natural and urban environments. These give your portraits great lighting and a stronger composition. This portrait of Bryony was taken in the outdoor area that backs on to our studio; part of international architect Peter Aldington’s Turn End Gardens. I am incredibly lucky to have such easy access to a varied choice of spaces, but no matter where you’re shooting, you can almost always find top shade and framing devices …

Super-Simple Daylight Portrait

You don’t need studio flash to achieve a clean, simple portrait with great lighting. This was taken outdoors at the end of the shoot, and is ridiculously easy once you know the trick. I had nearly finished a family shoot and wanted to get a simple portrait of each member of the family. I asked Willow to sit on the curb at the road side so her face tilted slightly towards me as she looked up towards the camera. This meant …