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Summer Portraiture: Practical Technique

SummerportraitIt’s now almost July, and just because the weather outside is frightfully bright (for those in the Northern Hemisphere) doesn’t mean that you have to cancel all of your portrait photography. But taking advantage of the clear skies doesn’t mean that you have to shoot in broad daylight either.

If you want the best light for summer portraits, arrange your shoots within the “golden hour”. Typically, this is during the hour right after dawn, or the hour right before dusk. At this time, the quality of light will be diffused and the angle of light will give definition to long shadows.

Realistically though, it’ll be a hard sell to convince your client to meet you, fully dressed and picture perfect by 6:00am. Where does that leave you?

Aside from the standard “shoot behind a building” or “underneath trees”, this technique will provide you with the ability to shoot portraits at anytime of day in the brightest of open sunshine.

All you need is a). An assistant; b) A 32″ diffusion gobo and; c). A 22″ reflector.

1. Have your assistant hold the gobo above your subject’s head (or wherever the sunlight is most direct) to block the light. This will provide a small shaded area in which your subject will stand (keep in mind that the larger the gobo, the larger the shaded area, and vice-verse).

2. Place your reflector in direct sunlight to best “reflect” the light onto your subject (use either the soft gold or white sides).

3. If you want a head shot, your assistant can hold the reflector directly beneath your subjects face, or close to the side. Otherwise for a full body shot, you will have to stand the reflector against a tripod further away.

This technique sound too simple? Trust me. It’s the perfect way to keep your portraits up and running all throughout the beautiful summer season.

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Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse

is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals.

He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

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