Tag Archives: location

Scout locations for more interesting portraits

Austin, recruited to be our model, posed with a surfboard. A snooted Speedlight on the left completed this image

Locations account for a lot of the feel and mood of a portrait.

That’s why time spent location scouting is always worthwhile.

I keep a digital notebook/ folder on my computer of images filled with promising or  interesting locations.

Within this folder are images I capture with my cellphone when I’m out and about.

I usually grab a picture of the closest road sign showing the intersection so I can retrace my steps and find the place again months or years later.

I usually include some notes like “picture taken facing north etc”  and where the sun might be in the evening or morning.

With the internet, Google’s Street View and Google Earth, location scouting has become a lot easier.

The downside?

Choice places to shoot are fast becoming crowded or harder to find.

Does that mean you ought to keep some of these places secret? Continue reading Scout locations for more interesting portraits

Shadows can be your friend

What is the difference between porn and art?


After all, it’s in the shadows where all manner of body parts considered too risqué, indecent or too sexy that can be hidden.

Over-exposing to the extent that there is no detail in highlights has the same effect but it isn’t as commonly used or as natural-looking.

To use shadows well, a portrait photographer needs to know how to control his lighting, not just in intensity but also in direction.

He needs to understand the ratios well enough to know how many EV (exposure value or f-stops of light) difference is needed between highlight and shadow so that they is no detail in the dark areas.

Only when he understands this will he be able to use shadow to hide blemishes, scars on faces or even create the illusion that his subject’s face is narrower than in real life producing what else? A more flattering picture. Continue reading Shadows can be your friend

Available light portrait with Josephine

Josephine facing the camera full on resulting in heavier shadow on the right but still a very pretty picture despite the shadows.

Every portrait photographer starts out working in available light but eventually, if they are stick with photography and are serious about their craft, they move up and learn to light.

In my case, I had to learn to light because the newspaper I was working for switched from BW to color. Continue reading Available light portrait with Josephine

Location lighting needs: space around your subject

Besides gear, access, light and enough time, photographers also need enough space to do their work.

A recent assignment where I photographed UC Riverside Chancellor Tim White is a good example.

As with many daytime assignments, the kind of day outside can dictate where I get to work.

When I arrived at 8 am, things were not pretty outdoors.

It was raining, drab and cold.

Tinted windows are great for occupants of dwellings because they cut down on extreme glare from the exterior. Continue reading Location lighting needs: space around your subject