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 …

Video: Using photo walks to add variety to outdoor portrait shoots

What’s my favourite trick for relaxing a client while generating a variety of opportunities for beautiful daylight portraits? Going for a walk together. The exercise helps release adrenaline the client may be feeling if they are a little nervous about being in front of the camera. And the changing backgrounds and light conditions help create a range of looks for the final portrait set. It’s a win-win. Join me for a walk with Megan as we tour the streets of …

Video: Indoor portrait of Megan using window light

Capturing a subject and her reflection for a gentle, indoors, window-lit portrait. What can you shoot when stuck indoors on a grey day? We had been planning for sunlight but when it didn’t show up, we took the opportunity to capture this window-lit portrait as part of our reflections series instead. In the video I talk about working with changing circumstances (and less than ideal lighting) and also how you can adjust your position to get a more visually impressive …

Video: A simple spring-themed portrait of Nikki in the studio garden

Bring context to your outdoor portraits by including foreground and background details. Sometimes you want your portraits to convey a sense of time and place. I was photographing our model, Nikki, in our beautiful studio gardens just as the spring colours (and daffodils – bleurgh) were starting to emerge among the flora. I’ve included some of those colours as out-of-focus details in the foreground, while others surround Nikki in the background. JOIN NOW to view this and hundreds of articles, …

Video: Easy natural light garden portrait of Nikki

Being flexible when things don’t go quite to plan often results in the best images of all. Ah, British weather. Here’s what happened when all our best-laid plans went out of the window. You can either complain about it or get on with it – we opted for the latter and ended up with a beautiful portrait of our model Nikki, framed by out-of-focus lavender. Sneak behind-the-scenes with us as I talk you though the thinking behind the portrait. JOIN …

Video: Outdoor portrait of Alice using direct sunlight

How to build texture and shape into your portraits using light and location. For this portrait, I needed to make a choice about whether or not the positives of the location outweighed its limitations. However, I loved the dappled sunlight, and wanted to use it like a spotlight on my subject, so couldn’t pass up the opportunity to stop and shoot. Watch the video to find out why you shouldn’t trust your camera’s meter to expose correctly in a lighting situation …

Video: Tutu Tutorial With A Beautiful Ballerina

It’s not every day we have a ballerina in the studio or, in this case, just outside the studio, so when we do we make the most of it. This tutorial shows how we created some interesting portraits focussing on dance posing and beautiful light – both available and artificial. It was a particularly cold evening when we created these images – especially for Emily who was wearing a tutu and pointe shoes! JOIN NOW to view this and hundreds …

Video: Fine-tuning your subject’s position in a tunnel of topshade

Topshade occurs when your subject is shielded from the sun overhead, by trees, building overhangs and archways or tunnels. Tunnels of topshade provide a special lighting opportunity, and are worth looking out for. As Paul shows in this video, changing the position of your subject within that tunnel enables you to fine-tune the balance of light on your subject’s face compared to the light in the background. Then, JOIN NOW to view this and hundreds of articles, videos, critiques and …

Video: Creating a sense of motion

Most of the time, portrait photographers work with a stationary subject and camera. The best action shot of this young skateboarder, however, involved moving both subject and camera at the same time.  When your subject is moving, you typically increase your shutter speed to freeze their movements. But what if you want to capture that sense of motion, rather than prevent it? Here, Paul shows us how he used controlled panning to capture young Kai on his skateboard. JOIN NOW to …

Video: Striking teenager portrait compositions using urban street features

You don’t need to go far to find great locations and beautiful light for your portraits. Join us behind-the-scenes as we take a walk around the streets near the studio to capture stunning portraits of two teenagers using just one camera, one lens and Paul’s favourite light source of all, daylight. You’ll get inspired by how easy it is to find potential in everyday locations: a wall, a doorway, JOIN NOW to view this and hundreds of articles, videos, critiques …