Best time to shoot portraits
Portrait Photography
Amit K Srivastava
October 6, 2016

Sublime portraits are more delicious than Dunlop cakes

-The Photo-Hippie


Each photographer aspires to click images that would awe the viewers especially portraits and wildlife photography. So what is the best time to shoot portraits? Let’s discover as we read further.

Different time scales appropriate for shooting portraits are:

Noon- Outdoor shots or portraits are best captured during noon when sun isn’t directly over the head. It’s the time when light follows a downward path (straight down) and bounces straight back upwards. The light doesn’t reflect off and around items.

Dawn- Dawn is the time when there’s less crowd around and therefore less hustle-and-bustle. The peaceful atmosphere helps you focus on the subject and shoot best portraits.

Evening- Evening time after the sunset is again a good time to shoot portraits. A cloudy atmosphere that supports diffusion of light from the clouds also helps you shoot the best quality portraits.

Some Shooting Tips-

  • Try and shoot 3 hours after the sunrise or 3 hours prior to sunset for better results.
  • For location centric shoots, study the cross light availability around the region using the light of sunrise or sunset as backlight support for enhanced portraits. For example, if you want to shoot at the beach, use the sunrise or sunset as a backlight, positioning your subject accordingly. Position your subject (maybe a friend or spouse) in a way such that the sun throws its light from behind counterbalancing the lack of natural light for that splendid click!
  • Background shooting tips-

  • This is from a personal experience so you might consider trying it out. Set the aperture priority mode of your camera at ISO 100 and exposure compensation to say a negative 1.3
  • Set your camera to ISO 100 in aperture priority mode and exposure compensation to -1.3. Do chimp the shot you take on the LCD. Play with level of exposure compensation till the time you get the best background canvas
  • Do know that to shoot great portraits outdoor you need more than sunny climes and an enthusiastic model. Here is a quick list of the necessary paraphernalia you will need for great portraits. (You don’t have to buy costly equipment; these basic items will help you shoot great portraits)-

  • Flashgun
  • Standard zoom lens
  • Reflector
  • In order to shoot next level portraits you can get some additional items to improve your lighting possibilities. Here is a professional kit that will help you shoot professional-level portraits-

  • Wireless flash trigger
  • Telephoto zoom lens
  • Flash diffuser
  • Fast prime lens (such as a 50mm f/1.8)
  • Conclusion (let it go)

    Including a wonderful background may enhance your portrait. However, not always. Hence, if your location is not particularly picturesque, let it go. Instead use the f-number adjustment to get that depth of field and focus on the subject. Most photogenic portraits are often kept simple.

    Tip- Try to shoot against plain (hassle-free) backgrounds like a wall or sky that makes your prime subject remarkably conspicuous.

    Portrait Photography
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    About Author
    Amit K Srivastava
    A Photography Enthusiast motivated to empower individuals in photography
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