Jefferson Graham’s article “Attention to lighting can make a huge difference in your photos” yesterday in USAToday’s Tech section summarizes some great advice from Scott Kelby’s Digital Photography Book. (There’s also a video on this page of Graham showing how to get the best lighting for your photos in the summer sun.)
After sifting through hundreds of photos people send me as references for pet and people portraits, I couldn’t say it better than the headline of this article: If you want to vastly improve your people or pet shots, pay attention to lighting. Don’t just “Point and Shoot”, in spite of what the camera manufacturers say, instead: “Think, Look, Point, and Shoot”!
Among my Top Five Tips for Taking Portrait-Worthy Photos, two involve lighting: Turn off the flash and avoid direct sunlight by taking your subject in bright shade.
The USAToday article includes these among Scott Kelby’s five concise tips for improving your photography by improving the lighting. As far as portraits go, I’m not sure I agree with his tip “Shoot into the sun” though. Even when using fill-flash, this can be pretty tricky to pull off. Try it, for sure — backlighting can be very dramatic — but hedge your bet by taking some other shots in bright shade, which is a sure thing.
I have several of Scott Kelby’s many books (does the guy ever sleep?) on photography, Photoshop, and Mac OS X and I highly recommend them for their practical approach, clear instruction, and great tips spiced with humor. The books that were the source of USAToday’s advice are The Digital Photography Book and it’s companion The Digital Photography Book, Volume 2. More of Scott Kelby’s books here.
I’m not a photographer, but I offer a free email mini-course “Taking Portrait-Worthy Pet Photos” that offers tips I’ve learned the hard way by taking my own pet photos and depending on my client’s photos to draw and paint pet and human portraits. Free free to sign up and learn along with me!