Photos with people as the subject is always so much fun. There are so many emotions to capture, stories to tell and beauty to take in. With unlimited location options and types of weather, it's important to make sure your camera settings are dialed in and you have an idea of how to work with each situation and group
To help you create the perfect photo session in any setting, I've created a list of 5 generic things to consider for your photoshoot!
When choosing your location, watch for a busy background. While Photoshop can help take out the small details, a busy background can really take away from the focus - your people. Try opting for a neutral background; a background that will fade and blur nicely and allow your subjects to pop.
A good practice is also to watch where surroundings fall in your frame. Try not to have your subjects in front of objects or scenery that are the same color as them, their clothes and their hair.
Lastly, to keep the background out of focus, keep your subjects at least 10 feet away from the background (aka a line of trees or bushes). This gives your camera the depth to create the soft background, instead of focusing on the background and subject at once.
2. Frame Positioning
I like to use the ” rule of thirds”. Imagine your frame as a grid. 1/3 of the photo would be sky, 1/3 would be water, 1/3 would be ground, for example. This will help improve the composition and balance of your images. Once you master this thinking, this ‘rule’ can be broken, obviously, to allow for more creativity!
You can change your focus point so that it is not always in the centre of the photos. Your focus is determined by depth. So whatever is on the same level of your focus point will be clear, the rest will be blurry, depending on your camera settings.
You can off centre your subjects in photos by either changing your focus point on your camera OR simply using the current focus point, setting it by pressing half down on the button (depending on camera) and then moving the frame off to the side. This look will show more of a back drop and create a picturesque landscape, while still having your people as your main focus.
Photo By Jasmin Jade Edited with Jade Preset
It is easier to shoot in a lightly overcast day, as it doesn't show hard shadows and bright exposure of harsh sunlight. However, depending on the circumstances, for instance, a wedding, you do not have a choice and must do your best with what Mother Nature has given you. Therefore, positioning people in the right angle is key. In harsh light situations, always shoot towards the sun - so the person is back lit. This assures no squinting or harsh shadows. It also creates a softness to the light. Bonus - if you have a reflector, it definitely helps fill in the shadows!
If you’re pointing your camera toward the sun, you’ll have some challenges to consider. First, you’re more likely to get flare. Lens flare will rob your picture of sharpness, contrast and color, so try to use a lens hood and a flag—your hand, a friend’s hand or even something like shade from a tree or other structure—to keep the direct sunlight from falling on the lens.
While many people want to have at least one nice photo where everyone is looking and smiling, be sure to capture the candid moments as well! Many of the most beautiful images come from capturing the moments in between the different poses. It's also a fun idea to have your clients interact by telling jokes or secrets to each other, as it creates real emotion that shows such beauty!
I hope this helps on your next photoshoot!
Photo edited with Jade Preset