How many of you received a DSLR for Christmas? How many of you know how to use it on manual?
One of the most important things to know before you even start using your camera, in my opinion, is understanding light. If you look back through the blog posts, you will see a couple posts about light and how crucial it is in creating any kind of portrait-landscape, people, or objects.
Since I am a portrait photographer, this post will be about best principles for lighting when photographing people, but you can use the same principles to other types of portraiture.
1. Your subject should be the brightest part of the image.
Unless you are creating a silhouette, or trying something creative and different (in other words, breaking the rules), this should be the case.
Why, you ask?
When you look at an image of a person or group, if everything is lit the same, then everything is even and bland-nothing stands out and there is no dimension. If the people's faces are lighter than the background and foreground elements in your image, then their faces will be the first thing your eye goes to. It is a general principle in photography that our eyes will gravitate toward the brightest part of the image, so if you have blown highlights in the background and your subject in darker than the the highlights, then your eye will go there first.
So be sure your subjects faces are the brightest part of the image, or the entire subject is the brightest part of the image-depending on how you composed it.
In this image, I used a reflector, but failed to adjust my settings for the bright highlights in the back. Thus, my subject is in good light, but the background blown out highlights are too bright, and takes your eyes away from the subject.
This image was taken at Naperville Riverwalk, in Naperville, IL, under one of the many bridges they have. It is usually dark on the inside and light on the outside-for obvious reasons. Thus, I should have adjusted more for the highlights in the back, and even on the sides!
In this next image, we used a strobe light outside and to the subjects left, camera right, to create a spotlight on her. If we had not done this, she would have just disappeared into the image. What is the first thing you see when you look at this image?
(and if you look closely-you will also see a photobomber-that person had no idea what we were doing, and just walked into the shot. This is straight out of camera, and that person is edited out in the final image)
This image was taken at Fabyan Forest Preserve in Geneva, IL-a photographer's dream! This area is often surrounded by beautiful flowers all around the green vines-we missed it this time, but were thankful we had the green vines and a beautiful setting!
Stay tuned for a few more blog posts about light in the next few weeks!
And, feel free to visit our portfolio, and see how many of our images have broken the rules, and/or failed in this concept, and nailed it!