Available Light Glamour Photography Tips

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

The best way to improve your photography is practice. Photograph something each week so you get to the point where you don’t have to think about how to operate your camera, you just shoot. And don’t worry about producing masterpieces every time you pick up your camera, use as a sketchpad to explore the possibilities and don’t be afraid of making mistakes.

While it may seem obvious, many photographs are made in locations based on where the photographer or their subject decides to make it. This approach works great  outdoors but for indoor glamour you should place your subject where the light is best.

You may have a location in your home and never thought than an unlikely location would be a great place to make a portrait. Think about it now.

  • Use wide-open apertures to soften and blur the background and focus attention on your subject.
  • Keep lighting tools simple. Almost all my natural light images, like the one at right, use only a single reflector. The less time you spend fiddling with equipment, the more time you can spend putting your subject at ease.
  • Watch the background. It’s so easy to become so enthralled by the person you’re photographing that you forget about the background. I believe that if you watch the background, the foreground will take care of itself.
  • Talk to your subject. I’ll never forget advice one of my mentors gave me years ago. When I asked what was the worst thing I could do, I expected him to give me some technical tip but his answer surprised me. “If you don’t talk to the people you’re never going make a good picture.”

Photographing people combines elements of psychology as much camera technology and how you personally interact with your subject will have more to do with the success of your session than the camera or lens that you use.

How I made the above image: Camera was a Canon EOS 50D with EF 135mm f/2.8 SF lens and an exposure of 1/250 sec at f/4 and ISO 800. In this case, lighting was provided by a window in the back door to my former home. A 32-inch Westcott reflector is at camera left.


If you’re interested in learning how I shoot  available light glamour portraits, please pick up a copy of Available Light Glamour Photography which is available new from Amazon.com for $29.95 or used for the giveaway price of $8.98, as I write this. If you would like some hands-on training, check out my one-on-one workshops.