From The Jason Files: Better Photos Are Only A Screen Door Away

August 17, 2011

Beneath the smudged fingerprints left by your five-year-old and the cobweb that the spider contractors erected over the winter sits the single best photographic tool you own.

Your screen door.

The fastest way to take better family shots? Position your mom/husband/small fries in front of the door on a cloudy day and take a good look at your subject. The clouds give you a giant soft light that filters through the biggest window you’ve got in the house.

In an instant, you can create the sort of fab shots that grace covers of magazines and generate envy when it comes time to send out the annual Christmas letter. Take that Cousin Martha and your wildly successful summer BBQ!

What To Do:

Turn off your flash.

Experiment with your subject facing a screen door, window or other brightly lit area.

Try it out in bright sunlight (hard light) or cloud cover (soft light) and see what the shot looks like.

Bonus: Make those really big, glassy catchlights. Get your subject really close to the door on a cloudy day. Ooo.

Extra Bonus: Get the sunset in your backyard? Shoot your portrait then for nice super warm light.

Try it! If you get the best portraits ever then you are morally obliged to share them with us here! And be sure to check in with Jason at his Facebook page, where he is GENEROUS with the tips and advice, and to keep up with all of his Digital Life photos right here.

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    Maija @ Maija's Mommy Moments August 17, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    LOVE the new photography features.

    Any chance Jason can tell us what camera/settings he is using for his featured photos?

    Already feeling MUCH braver moving away from the AUTO setting on my camera.

    Thank you!


    Maija @ Maija's Mommy Moments August 17, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    PS: I don’t have a screen door so am anxiously awaiting your next tip!

    Jason Thomson August 18, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Hey Maija (what a wonderful name)!

    I will admit that my featured photos come from all sorts of cameras. I shoot a lot with both a dSLR (Canon 5d Mark II) and a point-and-shoot (Canon G11). I also take a whole lot of pics of the family with the iPhone. If you’re in the market for a new camera, I created this post —

    No screen door? No problem. A window works wonders, as does the shade of a building or outdoors anywhere on a cloudy day (or a sunny day about an hour before sunset).

    Best of luck and if I can answer any more questions, don’t hesitate to pop by the Frame One Facebook page. Always lots to see, do and talk about…

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