Capturing portraits in natural light can be a little tricky. In fall/autumn, depending on the time of day you are photographing your subject, there can be bright lights and deep shadows. Certain times of the day are better for shooting (early morning and late afternoon), but just not always possible. So here are a few tips for shooting in bright light.
Stick to the basics
If it’s a spur-of-the-moment situation, you may not have speed lights and reflectors with you. Perhaps you don’t even have a dedicated portrait lens like my Sony 85mm with you. A good solid 24-70mm or even a 70-300mm can work wonders. Keep things simple, look for interesting compositions, and beware of distracting elements in the background. Make sure there are no branches coming out of heads, or unwanted elements like rubbish bins and such.
Look for even lighting
Try to avoid shooting into or even in direct light, look for soft shadows. Diffuse the light with bushes and trees, they make for beautiful soft light. Even umbrellas and things like towels (held by an assistant or friend) can create some softer light. If possible cloudy days are the best choice, as the clouds act like a giant diffuser.
Flashes and Reflectors
Popping a small flash/ speed light or even a foldup reflector in your pack can be a great idea. There are small and lightweight and can make such an impact. Even think about throwing a set in the boot of your car.
It doesn’t really matter whether it’s autumn (like with my photos of Emily) or spring; soft dappled light can still be found. Gorgeous portraits can be achieved without the need to drag loads of gear around with you. Perhaps think about asking your subject to wear clothes that match the season or the mood you wish to capture.
Model — Emily Reinhard