San Jose Photography – Portrait Photographer Tips Although portrait photography may seem simple to most, it is actually one of the trickiest photographic skills and takes years to master. On the plus side, because of the posed and scheduled nature of portrait photography, it is also one of the easiest ones to practice. If you’re considering starting a studio in your garage or living room, here are a few handy tips to keep in mind before you call your subject in for the shoot. Brighter Isn’t Better Harsh, bright lights will definitely give you lots of illumination and make photographing your subject super simple. However, these lights are rarely flattering and should be avoided if you want natural results. Portrait lighting is best achieved with soft light. You can find this light in the shade, on overcast days, or by using umbrella reflectors in the studio (these are available at a relatively low price). Using soft, even light will be easier to work with and will help to highlight your subject nicely. Light Setup Two lights should be enough for portrait lighting. Use one main light to determine the tone and direction of your light, then offset it with a second light placed near the camera. This will help to soften any harsh shadows and even out the strong contrast. Another way you can get this effect is by placing a light above the camera and one fill reflector below the camera. Both of these options will give you good quality results without special equipment. Use What You Already Have If you don’t have money to spend on a professional light setup, you can often get near-professional results by using a few desk or floor lights. If you want even more control, try using bed sheets to reflect the light around the room. Look around your house for possible lighting equipment and you may find some unique opportunities to use for your portraits. Don’t Forget the Sun Often times, we think of portrait photography as studio photography, but that doesn’t mean you have to be in a studio for professional results. You can get incredible results using natural light if you know how to properly use it. For example, if you have a large window in your house, you can use it as a source of natural light. If you’re taking pictures outside, use a big sheet of white posterboard (or foam board) as a reflector and point it at your subject to minimize harsh shadows. Much like every other sort of photography, portraiture requires practice, patience, and a whole lot of love. Luckily, it doesn’t require a lot of professional equipment or a lot of money. Be creative with your materials and subjects and you’ll be surprised at how great the results can be. Portrait lighting is all about subtlety but that doesn’t mean that it’s not a lot of fun!