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« Adobe Creative Cloud and Adobe Creative Suite | Main | Fall foliage photography tips »

Available light photography portrait technique

Available light portrait photo using direct sun

 Being able to see light, and understand how it can work in service to a concept is important. Do you want to spotlight a subject so it stands out from the background?  Do you want to create a soft romantic quality to an image?  Here are examples of using light to do just that.

 Recently, I did a shoot with a wonderfully talented actor, ZZ Moor, and I wanted to create two different looks.  The first idea was to show her three-quarter figure, but still bring focus to her face.  The solution was to work in a stairwell where the sun was cut off by an overhang.  By positioning ZZ carefully, we were able to have the same effect as a theatrical spotlight.

In the second image, I was looking for a very soft, clean, and introspective feel.  The solution here was to shoot in the shade of a tree outdoors.  By carefully selecting where she was positioned, I could still get some direction to the light created by the sun bouncing off some white granite colums to the right side of the picture. 

Available light portrait photo using open shade

I'm a great believer in starting with an idea, and then looking for the location that can fulfill that intention.  Observing light is a key to making that happen.

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