Taking a picture of someone is easy. Taking a naturally flattering picture of someone proves to be more difficult. It is for that reason we at Aperture Academy hold our Natural Light Portrait workshop. Not only do we focus on finding that awesome natural light, but work with our students to perfect camera techniques along with posing our models in interesting ways. On this overcast Saturday, we did just that. I met two energetic groups, first refreshing them on the basics, and then heading out to demonstrate some of the techniques. Luckily, the weather was cooperating and we were able to shoot during a window of drizzle and light rain. The overcast allowed for some beautiful, soft lighting, giving us more options for backgrounds, so the first technique we practiced was using a telephoto lens to make a small area the entire background of the image. Not only did this bring the background closer, but it brought out the bokeh as well. It’s amazing how you can make any scene the background of your subject if you know how to utilize your equipment.
Although the overcast lighting was ideal, the students really wanted to understand how to handle portraits in the bright sun, so we ran through a couple of scenarios. Do you front light the subject? Won’t there be shadows? What about backlighting the subject? How can we backlight but still get correct exposure? In the end, it all came back to how we can learn to see light before even taking the photo. We worked on a couple more techniques using reflectors and creating catch light in the eyes, talked about the dynamic range of the camera, and then they were eagerly snapping away, trying to get the best composition.
After a couple more poses and scenarios, the students began jumping in with instruction, positioning our model and giving her some direction. They had her interacting with trees, shifting her pose, and tried to bring out that natural smile. It was a beautiful sight to see, and before I knew, they were off to practice the skills they learned today on their own.
Until next time…from Mary and the rest of the Aperture Academy Team!
If you'd like to join us at one of our workshops, you can find the schedule/sign up here.
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