02 Shoot a high-key portrait
When the sun is high in the sky, take advantage and shoot a high-key portrait. The key to getting a shot like the one above is finding a suitable location, but that doesn’t mean it has to be picture-perfect, as lifestyle photographer Robert Hooper says.
“This image was actually taken in a lay-by,” he explains, “but I saw the wildflowers growing there and knew it would make for a great portrait if I just limited which parts of the background could be seen.”
To capture this shot Robert set his camera to Aperture Priority mode with Exposure Compensation set to +2/3. “This was to ensure that Millie’s face was correctly exposed,” Robert says.
“She has beautiful long blonde hair, so I faced her away from the light so I could shoot back into it. I knew this would produce a lovely backlight, with the added bonus that she wouldn’t have to squint from looking directly into the sun.”
For a shot like this, a bit of blow-out on the highlights in the hair is fine, says Robert. “You’ll also want to get an assistant to hold a reflector, to direct some light back into the face, because it will be thrown into shadow.”
Get started today…
* Shoot using a long lens and keep the aperture wide (ideally f/2.8 or f/4) in order to blur the background and eliminate distractions.
* Fill in the shadows using a reflector or flash.
* Photographing children can be difficult, but it’s important to make them feel comfortable. Don’t ask them to smile, because they’ll just grin falsely at the camera.
* At the editing stage, use Curves and Levels in Photoshop to bring out the highlights and increase the vibrancy of the colours in the scene to produce a high-key effect.
PAGE 1: Shoot a seasonal still life
PAGE 2: Shoot a high-key portrait
PAGE 3: Shoot a pool-side portrait
PAGE 4: Shoot a late-summer sunset
PAGE 5: Shoot birds in flight
PAGE 6: Shoot a seascape at dusk
PAGE 7: Shoot moving water
PAGE 8: Shoot at sunrise
PAGE 9: Shoot from a boat