articles/Portraiture/lightlaughter-page1

Light and Laughter - part 1 of 1 2

by Michael Turner Published 01/12/2010

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Michael Turner's top tips for capturing natural outdoor portraits of children.

Make the world your studio
Let's look at these in turn.
Find the right light.


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Without the right light your portraits will lack sparkle or could even be ruined by dark 'panda' eyes and unwanted shadows. Children, toddlers especially, won't hang around while you set up lights. Even reflectors can be the kiss of death for their attention span.

The answer is to find beautiful, flattering natural light that doesn't need modification, and the key to this is to look for open areas of shade that cut out the light coming from above - trees, archways, bridges or doorways for instance. Cloudy, or even rainy, days usually mean flattering light. On bright sunny days, direct sun should be avoided. Shoot with the sun behind the kids for beautiful rim lighting (you'll need to open up your lens by an f-stop or two) or find open shade with the sunlight bouncing in. Check out your subject's eyes - if they look bright and sparkly, with big, soft catchlights then you're in the right area. If there's room for your subjects to move around and still be in great light - even better!


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1st Published 01/12/2010
last update 16/10/2014 21:50:31

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