Lighting Your Portraits: Broad Light vs. Short Light

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Lighting patterns can make or break the look of a portrait.  Lighting can make someone appear heavy or slimmer than they actually are and give a completely different look to an image.

In the image below, the author of this post simulated the look of different lighting ratios in Photoshop – to show the different light patterns.

Broad light:

Broad light is lighting the broadest or more open side of the face, the side toward the camera. See the image on the right. The main light is on the right side of her face creating a broad light.  This creates a shadow on the left side of her face (first photo).

Short Light:

Short light is lighting the side of the face that is turned away from the camera or the short side of the face, like in the left image.  The main light is on her left side creating a short light.  Creating shadows on the right side of the face (second photo).

As you’ll notice, the image on the right gives her face a fuller appearance.  The image on the left giver her face a slimmer appearance.

 

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Shadows:

In the below image you see the shadow is on the opposite side.  In the left image the shadow fall on the right side of her face.  This is a short light which gives the appearance of a slimmer face.

In the right image, the shadow in on the left side of her face (a little harder to notice). This is a broad light which gives the appearance of a fuller face.

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After the fact

Watch for lighting patterns when you look into the viewfinder, and adjust as needed.   If you realize later that the lighting did not quite work, you can sculpt your subject using dodge and burn techniques with Photoshop actions such as Light Painting and Light Blocking in MCP Inspire.

 

Conclusion

There are several light patterns you can use in your portrait work.  Broad and short lighting patterns are just a few.  Practice.  Move your lights to different position and intensity.  See how the movement of your lights and the intensity of your lights can completely change the appearance of your images. Keep in mind that natural light creates lighting patterns too.  Using a flash for fill and/or a reflector, as well as controlling the direction of the natural light, you will notice these patterns… if you look for them.

 This post was written for MCP Actions by: John J, Pacetti, Cr.Photog., CPP, AFP  2014 MARS Instructor Owner South Street Studios, Freehold NJ

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10 Tips For Spring Family Portraits For Photographers

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10 Tips for Photographers to Prepare For Spring Family Portraits

In my previous post, I highlighted 5 tips for clients on how to get ready for Spring Family Portraits. This post will focus on the photographers’ side and discuss how to be prepared for the Spring Family Portraits season.

1) Gear Readiness

Check all your equipment. Get cameras and lenses cleaned and serviced. Check reflectors for any tears. I recently had an issue with my primary camera and it was a MAD RUSH to get it serviced and ready for my weekend session! I, personally, am a Canon user and have the Canon Professional Services Membership, which is a great service that is very quick and efficient. It is always a good idea, no matter what brand you use, to have your equipment serviced and cleaned before the busy season hits so that you are well prepared.

2) Update Camera Accessories

Clean out and reformat your memory cards and recharge/replace flash batteries so they are ready for immediate use.

3) Backup External Hard Drives

Clean out any external hard drives and backup all of your previous year’s work. There is nothing more frustrating than finding a full hard drive when you are trying to backup your memory cards out in the field.

4) Showcase Latest Work

Update your Website and Portfolio with your latest work. Most of us get so busy with sessions, blogging and marketing, that we tend to forget about updating our websites and portfolio (I know I am guilty of that too). You know you have done some amazing work – take the time to share it with the world!

5) Order Business Stationary

Take advantage of Spring sales and stock up on business cards, brochures and any other marketing materials you know you will need for the months ahead.

6) Prepare And Update Business Templates

These can be templates for responding to inquiries, sending invoices and/or requesting feedback. This will speed up your workflow and help you balance your business and personal life once the busy season hits.

7) Update Your Go-To Location List

Take the time now to scope out new and interesting locations. Test out lighting at various times of day and make a note of them in your journal. This will ensure you are prepared for the coming year and your portfolio images are fresh and new!

8) Update Your Posing Techniques

Research new poses and techniques and keep them handy for your sessions – I look at various magazines and newspapers for inspiration. When I find something I like, I snap a quick picture with my iPhone and store those images in separate albums. That ensures I have them handy when I need them because let’s face it, a photographer is never without his/her camera phone!!!

9) Create Season-Specific ‘What to Wear’ Guides

Create a ‘What To Wear’ Pinterest board for the various seasons and times of the year. Proactively share these with your clients so that they can use these clothing tips when preparing for their sessions. Additionally, it shows them that you have a plan and are well prepared for the shoot. Here is an example of my Pinterest Board for Spring Sessions.

10)  Update Your Mindset

For most of us, Winter is a slow season. It is our time to rejuvenate and renew our mind, body and soul. Start to shake away the winter blues and have a fresh, positive attitude towards life and your business and you WILL do great things this year!

I hope you have enjoyed this two part series on Preparing for Spring Family Portraits. Feel free to share other tips and ideas that have helped you prepare for Spring.

Karthika Gupta, guest blogger for this article, is a Lifestyle Wedding and Portrait Photographer based in the Chicago Area. You can see more of her work on her website Memorable Jaunts and follow her on her Memorable Jaunts Facebook page.

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Should You Jump Ship From Facebook For Google Plus?

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This is the question most photographers are asking right now.  I hear the buzz all over social media.

“Should I leave Facebook for Google Plus?”

And the answer is: NO. Don’t jump ship from Facebook. Just change the way you use it.  Times have changed — you may feel like less people see your images and posts, no matter incredible the photos or exciting the conversation. Facebook constantly changes their algorithm.  They need ad dollars to please stockholders, and unfortunately this leaves less space for the content you want to deliver and receive.

Here are some ideas on how to work with the Facebook changes:

  1. Create great content, share beautiful images, and post what your audience wants to see.
  2. Experiment. Each week design a plan and stick to it.  One week try the “post only once a day” and another week try to post every few hours throughout the day.  See what works best for your audience.
  3. Check your insights and see what types of posts do best and do more of them.
  4. Don’t take it personally – don’t measure your worth by your numbers.  It’s not you, it’s them.   If you start feeling down about yourself, take a step back.  Maybe take a few days off, or even have a friend post for you.  Seriously.  Your photos rock!  If you see a low percent of people seeing your posts and the decreased amount of interaction, remember that Facebook is holding back.
  5. The bigger your Facebook account gets, the lower the % they show your posts to organically.  So, consider finding your ideal target customers, not just bodies, to like your page.
  6. Be careful of “the experts.”  Much like an overweight person who wants so badly to lose weight, it’s easy to fall for the “free” webinars promising more fans and interaction on your page. Most are designed to lure you in to paid products. Since social networking changes constantly, I’m skeptical of people who coin themselves “experts.”  Maybe “experimenters” is a better name – they try and tell you what they think works at that moment in time.

 

What else you can do… The best advice I have for photographers!

DO NOT PUT ALL YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET!

This is the same advice I might give a kid on Easter.  If the wind blows and you drop your basket, you lose all the eggs. Start thinking in terms of diversity.  Sure, you can have a favorite social network.  Your heart may even still belong to Facebook.

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Ownership is everything! The most important thing isn’t what social networks you belong to, but that you take ownership of a website, a blog and a newsletter.   You control these 100%!

Then diversify your social networking efforts.  It may be impossible for your business to be on Google Plus, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.  But we recommend pick at least two or three so that you spread out and reach your customers where they like to socialize.

Now it’s networking time!!! Who wants to play….

Below, we listed all the places where you can find us. We definitely do not expect you to follow us everywhere, but we hope you’ll like us on any networks that you frequent.  We even added a description of each so you will know which are best for you.  Oh, and “networking time” – you may wonder what that means.  We want you to tell us where we and other MCP fans can find you too.  Just type your info in the comments section below.

OUR SOCIAL NETWORKS:

MCP Facebook PageWe share tips, tricks, and news related to photography and editing.
MCP Facebook Group  – Request your invite to connect with MCP customers around the globe.  Ask questions. Share your edits with our products.
Jodi’s Facebook Page - Get to know me better… A mix of photography, editing and personal thoughts…
MCP Google Plus PageWe share tips, tricks, and news related to photography and editing. See MCP posts that Facebook hides from you.
Jodi’s Google Plus Page Get to know me better… A mix of photography, editing and personal thoughts…
MCP on InstagramWe get a little more personal here – but also host a fun, photo a day challenge.  Come join us when you can.
MCP on PinterestWe share tips, tricks and news related to photography and editing – some from our sites and other stuff from around the Internet.
MCP on Twitter - Like your information in 140 characters or less.  Join us here for quick tips and links to new blog posts.
Jodi’s Facebook Page - Get to know me better… A mix of photography, editing and personal thoughts…
Jodi’s Google Plus Page Get to know me better… A mix of photography, editing and personal thoughts…

Beautiful Jodi 03 edit 450x675 Should You Jump Ship From Facebook For Google Plus? OUR WEBSITES:

StoreShop for Photoshop actions, Lightroom presets and editing classes.
BlogLearn photography, Photoshop, Lightroom, and business tips and tricks.
MCP Show and TellSee before and afters with step-by-step recipes teaching how to get the look. Then share some of your own.
Weekly Newsletter Sign UpDon’t miss a beat. We deliver photography and editing tips and tutorials right to your in box.  Plus the occasional freebie and new product details.

 

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5 Tips For Getting in Spring Family Portraits (Share With Your Customers)

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Tips For Getting Ready For Your Spring Family Portraits

I’ll wager a bet that most of us are eagerly awaiting Spring. This winter has certainly been an extreme one! Between the subzero temperatures, snow blizzards and being cooped up indoors, we are ready for sounds of birds chirping, warmer temperatures and bursts of color everywhere. This is a prefect time to start thinking and planning for your Spring Family Portraits!

If you skipped taking Holiday Family Pictures either due to the busy holiday season or because you did not want to look like an Eddie Bauer Commercial (nothing against Eddie Bauer – I love their winter coats!), Spring Family Portraits are a great way to celebrate color! Better yet, take the session outside!  The lush greenery and blooming trees make an amazing backdrop. An added bonus is that the whole family can dress up in bright colors and shake away the winter blues. Below, are five tips to make the most of your Spring Family Portraits.

1) Plan Ahead

We all spend the last few weeks of winter counting days until Spring. The days start getting longer and suddenly our calendars seem to fill up very quickly. Plan ahead and start researching photographers in your area. Most photographers use the early part of the year to update their website and blog their recent sessions, which is a great way to check out their latest work and make sure their style fits with yours. If you have found a photographer you want to use, feel free to schedule a consultation and book your session months ahead. This makes the planning process much easier not only for you but also for your photographer.

2) Locations

Most photographers have a list of favorite locations that they like to use for family portraits. As photographers, we take the time to scout locations and test out lighting. However, if there is a location that you really like and want to incorporate in your family pictures, don’t be afraid to ask. Perhaps it is a park that you visited when the kids were young or a favorite family biking path that you want to revisit with the family. Photographers are generally open to suggestions.

3) Update Your Wardrobe

Spring is all about color. Be it pastels like pink and teal or brighter colors like orange and reds. Research the latest fashion trends and feel free to experiment. Start a Pinterest board and share it with your photographer. This will help them get to know you and your individual style even before the photoshoot and you can get expert opinions on what would work and what wouldn’t – a win-win for both parties!

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4) Opt For A Lifestyle Photoshoot

Lifestyle Photoshoots are a documentary style of photography. It is a great way to capture interactions among families – simple, honest emotions that represent your true personality, like the tight grasp of a child’s hands, squeals of laughter as they play a game of tag, or blowing bubbles together in the park. These sessions tend to be more relaxed as the photographer captures the natural flow of your life. I find that Spring Family Portrait Sessions lend themselves more towards Lifestyle Photography.

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5) Keep It Simple

Spring photos tend to be simple and clean. Stick to the basics – wardrobe, location and activity. Don’t try to overdo the shoot by trying to plan many different things within the photoshoot timeframe.

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I hope these simple tips help you in planning and making the most out of your Spring Family Portraits. Remember to get outside and have fun. You owe it to yourself and your family after surviving a brutally cold and dark winter! icon smile 5 Tips For Getting in Spring Family Portraits (Share With Your Customers)

Follow along for my next article – Tips For Spring Family Portraits Readiness For Photographers.

All images in this post were edited with the new versatile MCP InFusion Lightroom Presets!

Karthika Gupta, guest blogger for this article, is a Lifestyle Wedding and Portrait Photographer in the Chicago Area. You can see more of her work on her website Memorable Jaunts and follow her on her Memorable Jaunts Facebook page.

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Proof That Newborn Photoshop Actions Are Not Just For Editing Babies

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One question we get asked often is “Can I use Newborn Necessities Photoshop Actions on other images?”  The answer is “YES, it can be used on any images.”

The follow up question is often, “Why did you name it Newborn Necessities and market the actions for editing baby images?”  Great question. When we started working on the newborn actions in 2011, we wanted a product that would help the growing industry of newborn photographers. Editing baby images is tough.  Babies are so beautiful, but sometimes their skin-tones range from gray and drab to yellow and jaundice.  Often they have purple or red feet and hands.  At first, we aimed to smooth their skin and fix these issues. We ended up building the set around that foundation and added workflow and toning actions as well as finishing actions – we built a complete solution for retouching and dealing with hard to edit baby images.

 

Photo by: Blythe Harlan Photography

While we truly focused on newborns when we developed and started selling the Photoshop actions, we never really considered that they are a perfect solution for a light, airy, clean edit for all images.  Photographers who buy these rarely limit the use to just babies.  We’ve even considered changing the name or re-marketing it.  In the end, we’ve decided to just let people know that in can, in fact, be used on all kinds of photographs.  Here are a few examples. We hope you enjoy!

Newborn Photoshop Actions used on non-baby images:

Photo by Holly Stocks – she’s just been in business since mid last year.  Beautiful!

Photo by: Jane Atwell

Photo by Atina King Photography

The Next Two Photos by: Impromptu Photography

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Photo by Jessica Dyck

Photo by Nicole Baldwin

Photo by Lauren Tomten

Photo by Jackie Scarpari

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