Spring means warmer weather – and more daylight means more chance to work on your people pictures. Grab a willing model and get out there!
Choose the right camera
Portraits will always look better on a camera with a little control over aperture and focus, allowing you to blur out the background and select which areas of your photo you want to be sharp. Always aim for the eyes to be your main point of focus: an aperture of f/5.6 or wider should enable you to keep the entirety of the person in focus, while softening the background and any foreground for a professional look to your photo. A mirrorless camera like the Fujifilm X-A3 is a good bet – plus its inbuilt wireless image transfer makes it simple to send your shots straight to your subject’s phone after taking them.
If you’re truly stuck for a location, look to your own front door – the shading and framing on offer means you’ll often find some of the best natural light conditions on your own doorstep. Place your person just inside the doorway and step out, then focus and expose on their face so the background’s blurred and often darker than the main subject area. This works especially well if the door frame is a bright colour, contrasting with the subject’s outfit.
Look for natural frames
Think carefully about the background that’s going to be behind your subject: you don’t want it to be too distracting, but you don’t want it to be too plain and look like a studio, either. If you can’t blur the background out with a wide aperture lens then we suggest using it to your advantage: place strong vertical lines like doorframes on the lines that correspond to the “rules of thirds”, and frame your subject using them – chances are you’ll end up with a much more impactful photo.
Try a black and white approach
Desaturating your image – whether in camera using a filter, or on your phone/tablet/computer after transferring your shot – can be a great way to add drama and contrast to draw out the emotion of a photo. This is especially useful in situations where you can’t control the distracting colours in the background of a shot, or where the light is fairly flat and even due to cloud cover. Make sure the basic principles of portraiture are taken care of then experiment away to see if you enjoy this black & white effect.
Rain stopped play? Head indoors
The unpredictable weather experienced at this time of year makes natural light portraiture a challenge – if the elements do conspire against you, there’s still plenty of portrait fun to be had indoors. A set of fairy lights can make atmospheric lighting: head to a dark spot, then string the lights around your model (careful!) and position them to illuminate their face and skin.
Totally stuck for ideas? Why not go double layed and use an instant print of the same scene in your photo – these Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 are great value and a whole lot of fun for creative people pictures.
Show us your shots
Once your subject’s happy with the photos, be sure to share your best work with us on Facebook or Instagram – this is where wireless image transfer technology (like that found on the Fujifilm X-A3) comes in extremely handy. Don’t forget to tag us in with #JessopsMoment – we can’t wait to see your shots!