For Portraits, Look for Open Shade (Day 16 of 31)
Daytime portraits taken outdoors give you great opportunities to experiment with different lighting, and open shade is your friend. What’s open shade? It’s the type of light you see on a bright day when you’re not right out in the sun, but under a tree that makes a solid canopy above you. Open shade is also the light you might have under a patio umbrella or a similar covering. (Dappled shade, with sunlight filtering through the leaves, is more problematic for photos; look for that solid layer your subject can be under.)
Pictures of people taken in direct, bright sunlight tend to suffer from several challenges. If the light is too harsh, you’re going to miss out on detail. Moreover, such light emphasizes the features we often want to brush kindly over—wrinkles, for instance. Bright sunlight tends to make middle-aged people look older, and the elderly look ancient. And of course squinting is another problem when people pose in bright light.
Open shade has the effect of softening wrinkles, but it’s still bright enough to capture all the details. The softer, more diffuse light flatters everyone.
People aren’t the only subjects flattered by soft light; animals are, as well. Open shade is a great way to get really charming pet pictures. And you’ll probably both be more comfortable, which greatly increases the odds of getting a nice photo that shows your pet’s true character.
(For the month of October 2017, I’m participating in the 31 Days bloggers’ challenge. You can find out about it here, and check out the interesting work other bloggers are posting.)