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Friday, May 22, 2009

Photography tips - Outdoor portrait

Outdoor portrait photography is one of the most flexible and fun ways of taking pictures.
Normally when one talks of portrait photography, it is always tagged with studio lighting, canvas backdrops, and a camera attached to a tripod. But honestly since most photography enthusiasts do not have acccess to lavish studio, it is not that essential for dynamite portrait photography. One can always perch for outdoor portrait photography. But what does one need to really improve outdoor portrait photography? First of course is a willing subject, a decent outdoor setting like having trees around, and a digital SLR camera. If these are met, then one can be on his way to creating outdoor outstanding images.

Here are the basic rules and tips in outdoor portrait photography:

  • Get Close. Make sure to make a tight frame shot for greater impact.Zoom the lens and move your feet to create a more poweful image. The moment you moved in close to the subject, and taken a series of shots, get closer and shoot again.
  • Use flash fill. One common technique for years in wedding photography is the turning on of flash even in outdoor scene. If you really want to impress your subjects, position them in the open shade like under a tree with a nice background in the distance. Then turn on the fill flash and make sure you are standing within 3 meters so that the flash can reach the subject. Turning on the flash will reduce the harsh shadows from the sun. If the sun is behind your subject, the flash will even out the light so you will see the details of their faces.
  • It is best if you shoot on a cloudy day. The light is soft with no harsh shadows. It makes beautiful portraits.
  • Position your subject in such a way that they are not looking directly at the sun. Pictures with squinting expressions are not what you have in mind. Put the subect in the shade with the background in the sun. Once you have found the appropriate setting and have everything in order, then start bursting your shots. Begin with a straightforward shot, stay focus while you have the model turn a little to the left, then to the right, when you see a position you like, shoot a few frames. Do not be afraid to experiment on different camera positions.
  • Use a medium telephoto lens. Unless you want an unusual effect, zoom in a little or use a lens in the 80-135mm range. You get the most pleasing facial proportions. Noses and ears are not enlarged or compressed at this range
  • Shoot from your subjects level. When you photograph kids and pets at their own level, they look the right size and you see life the way they see it
  • Move in closer and work a few more angles. Raise the camera and have the model look upward, lower the camera and have the subject look away. Make plenty of shots while testing with angles.
  • Lastly, Communicate with your subject and make them feel at ease. Do not make your subject feel that you are unhappy with how the shoot is going. Ask your subject to interact with the environment like throwing rocks in the rivr, touch the water fountain, cuddle a baby animal, smell a flower. HEre, you will get more natural unposed photos.

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