Taking portraits in bright sunlight is tricky!
Up until now I've been spoilt for choice as far lighting the photographs for my Portrait of the Month project. The previous images have either been shot indoors or under a cloudy sky. Overcast days are ideal lighting conditions for a flattering portrait - no harsh shadows, no featureless skies and no glare to blind me or my subject.
On 1 April I met up with Emma on London Bridge on a bright sunny day after she bravely agreed to be my Portrait of the Month for June 2014. I say 'bravely' because she admits to not liking photographs of herself. Emma co-founded the London Photo Festival in 2011 which enables photographers to exhibit and sell their work without having to go through an evaluation process. Our first meeting was a virtual one when my project was featured on the London Photo Festival blog in February.
I arrived on London Bridge ahead of Emma to see what the light was like and positioned her so that the sun lit her hair from behind, while a bare speedlight in my left hand held at arms length, at 1/32 power acted as a fill light. This was essentialy to light her eyes as my mentor had previously pointed out the darkened eye sockets in some of my portraits taken in natural light. I used my favourite 85mm lens with camera settings at 1/640, f/4, 200 ISO and I created a lighting diagram using the Strobox iPhone app to track what I did.
Emma and I talked about what this project has taught me about taking portraits and since I've reached the halfway point, I thought this was as good a time as any to reflect:
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