You’ve heard the phrase, “Lights. Camera. Action.” Why is light the very first thing mentioned? Because it is possibly the most important consideration when taking a photograph. Without light, there is nothing else.
So, inevitably, the positioning of your subject in relation to your light source matters. I’m going to repeat this point, because it’s the most important consideration when capturing an image - the relation of your light source to your subject (your child) matters.
Let’s try and work backwards here. What is your goal?
Your ultimate goal should be a well lit photograph, with light evenly distributed on your child’s face and outfit, presumably.
You do not want harsh sunlight because your child’s skin will be overblown, way too light, and the clothing he/she is wearing will not be portrayed accurately. The colors will be “off.”
Check out the right side of his face vs. the left. You see how one is more "white" and the other has a fuller range of colors?
The solution is to only photograph your subject at dawn or dusk. Avoid hard lighting situations.
Obviously that is impossible for some people. Some people work. Some don’t have help at those times. Luckily, there is an alternative - always look for shade.
When looking for shade, also look for evenly distributed lighting. If near trees, watch out for patches of light showing through. Those patches can create a choppy appearance in the final photograph and should be avoided.
Now that you’re in the shade, you may be thinking, “well, this light is boring. There isn’t much going on here and my image is kind of flat.”
This shaded photo is quite boring. Do you see those dark eye sockets? Monotone colors and very little light?
Well, a lot of pros take their studios outdoors. You may be able to DIY a solution. It’s actually really simple.
Spend 5 minutes and google “photography reflector DIY” and a million options for building your own aluminum foil reflector that you can take out on location with you. Bounce the light off of it and onto the face of your subject, and you’re in business. Play with it. Experiment. You may need a helper or a stand of some kind, but I promise that if used correctly, it will greatly improve your photos. No more dark eye sockets.
This photo was taken with a natural reflector, a white wall with semi-gloss paint, directly in front of the subject. Notice her eyes.
Keep in mind that the best photographs often have catch lights in the subjects’ eyes. They sparkle. They draw you in to the frame. This should be your goal.
I hope that these tips set you on a greater path for learning and loving light! I cannot wait to see what you do with these, so don’t forget to tag #hipkidfashion!
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