I was asked to make a presentation for the Big Photo Show here in Los Angeles recently. The idea was to provide something very basic for an amateur photo-enthusiast audience. I usually do presentations, seminars, and workshops for more advanced or professional audiences, but I thought well, why not, and the result is this short presentation. There are some very simple things you can do to improve your portrait photography without resorting to extra lighting, or exotic Photoshop enhancements. Simply by paying attention to the existing lighting, directing your subject to be in the best light, observing the relationship of the subject to the background, where they are in the frame, and the position of the camera relative to the subject, you can improve your portrait photography immensely.

I just spent a little more time with my grandson, and shot some more photos that illustrate the 3 areas of concern examined in the video. The main challenge with capturing good images of kids is just keeping up with them. I really got down on his level, and scrambled around in and around the playground equipments, to end up with these few shots here. I think it was well worth it, don’t you? Only available, natural light, and simple Lightroom adjustments – no pixels were harmed in the process!

Boy under play equipment

Under the jungle gym – light is coming straight in from the opening just behind my right shoulder and bouncing off the ground just behind & camera right of him – this is providing a beautiful rim light on his hand, legs and subtlety on the side of his face. Rule of thirds placement of subject.

Under the Gym

At the little boy’s head level the light can only come straight at him from behind the camera. More intense light is coming from the rear, giving and interesting rim light effect. He is positioned close to the right third line so the the strong diagonal of the left wall leads right into him.

Porthole face

What can I say – some shots are just lucky! I did pre-focus on the edge of the porthole and waited for him to stick his head into it…

In the Tube Slide

Here, the beautiful rim light on his face is bouncing off the green tube slide – he is looking at his grandmother, who is peeking in through one of the porthole windows at camera right – his placement follows the rule of thirds, mostly achieved through cropping in Lightroom!