For your weekly friendly photography tip… Aim for Shade!
Lots of people think that “sunny is best.” It’s not. When you’re shooting a portrait like the one below, you should really look for shade first because the light is much more even and flattering. The REAL trick is to find shade where there is light being REFLECTED onto your subject. Light bounces off of everything, so finding this type of illumination isn’t as hard as you think – you just have to look for it! Buildings, houses, water, etc… And of course you can reflect light on your own with a photo reflector or even a piece of white foam core!
In this photo, the lovely Ginny is completely lit by the light bouncing off the building across the street on her block in Brooklyn. No flash is used. It’s very even and flattering. It’s also much easier on the subject and they can focus on the instruction you are giving them and not trying to avoid burning their retinas or sweating in the bright sun.
Bonus Tip: I’ve also taken care to fill the frame with elements that are exposed as much as she is (i.e. you don’t see an over exposed building or the sky). When you have a perfectly exposed subject with an over exposed background, I personally think it ruins the shot.
Bottom line: Find shade, look at the light falling on your subject’s face, and chose the best angle to shoot from. Happy picture making!