Saturday, December 8, 2012

Guest Post: Photographing Your Family- Part 2

The most important element in a great photograph is great light.

I will see wonderful pictures of people on Facebook, or I will see potentially wonderful pictures on Facebook. So, my number one easy tip is turn on your flash.

Now, I rarely use flash because natural light is so beautiful but in many cases I will see beautiful backgrounds with the people either incredibly dark or missing.


 If you have your light source behind you, simply turn on the flash. Most cameras will adjust the settings perfectly. It is wonderful and it makes a MUCH better photograph.

Sunlight is where I’ll use my flash a lot. You see the subject with dark shadows under her eyes? Turn your flash on. Point and shoot cameras tend to adjust the settings perfectly with very little effort. You only really have to know how to force your flash on.


Here you can see the same subject with the flash turned on. Those dark shadows are gone.


This is a better example of what I usually see on Facebook.


This one simply has the flash turned on. I did lighten her up a bit in Photoshop but the principle is sound.


Sometimes you want the light behind the subject. Silhouettes are beautiful but only if you did them on purpose.

Light is everything in a photograph. My favorite light source is the sun.

My favorite light source is window light. Find a window and take a picture of your subject next to the window. We’ve already talked about the light source being behind you so keep in mind that your want the light source to either side of your subject.


 This photograph was taken with the light right on her whole face. This creates a flat look and is really great if your subject has a lot of wrinkles and it works in this photograph. Generally, you want the light coming in from the side because the shadows make the two dimensional photo look a bit more three dimensional.

 You can see on my daughter there is shadow because she is lit from the side. This is actually slimming as shadow can have a very slimming result. It also adds visual interest.



This image was taken in a very dark room with a very small window. That concentrated the light and looks lovely.



This image is actually back-lit but I love it.




An excellent light source, still the sun, but simply involves opening the garage. That is what we did in this photograph. I often do it for my professional shoots. It creates a wonderfully huge light source and is very easy to use and almost everyone has one.

We will have four more posts on photographing your family over the next few days. Stay tuned for more tips from professional photographer Kim Barlow. 

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