Every so often I will get emails asking questions about lighting or other things related to how I create images. During our photo workshop last weekend I got to thinking about all the little tricks I have picked up over the past few years and thought it might be helpful to post some of them. This one is pretty simple, but is super helpful for anyone from the pro to the point and shoot user. So here it is, tip #1.
As you decide how to light your subject there are a lot of different options. One thing which is usually important is to have smooth consistent light on your subjects face. We all hate those images with spotty mixed light all over our subject. One way to get really smooth light without your subject squinting is to find a building which is facing a clear blue open sky. The trick is to make sure there is enough sky to light up your subjects face and create a really nice catch light in their eyes. The below diagram shows a basic scenario which I will often look for when I shoot in city locations. The shade of the building creates a consistent exposure for your image, and the sky acts as a huge soft box. Note the first images below you can see the horizon line lighting up my subjects eyes. In the second image you can see the smooth soft light source making for a really crisp evenly lit portrait. Next remove the building and try the scenario next to a fence, or under a bridge, or behind a tree. It’s a simple concept, but makes a huge difference in your image creation. Let me know if this was helpful. =)