‘I always shoot in manual mode,’ says Myron ‘As I said, I always open up the aperture as much as I can: on the Canon 50mm lens that will be f/2.8; on the Canon 85mm I’ll open it up to around f/2.0 or 2.2. It’s only when shooting group portraits that I’ll switch to AV mode and take that up to f/3.5.

‘The shutter speed, of course, depends on the lighting and the subject, but when I’m shooting handheld, I’ll try and stick to the old rule of setting the shutter speed to match the focal length of the lens. For example, for a Canon 70-200 mm lens when shooting at a focal length of 200 mm, the shutter speed does not exceed 1/200sec. This is important as I’m often shooting handheld and with moving subjects. Using a fast shutter speed will ensure no camera shake and no blurriness of the subject.

‘ISO also depends on lighting, but I try to keep it at a minimum. Only in extreme cases will I increase its value, but never to more than ISO 1000. This is the operative value for my Canon EOS 5D Mark III camera. Any larger and the images are too noisy.’

Be aware that reflections from coloured surfaces can ruin an otherwise good portrait

Reflections from coloured surfaces can tend to find their way into your images. This is particularly true in street locations where you may find that parts of your model, especially the face, have strange colour castes thrown on them from all sorts of surfaces that are in or near the frame. This tends to be more of an issue in bright conditions and can come from a variety of sources – painted walls, areas of bright primary colours, metal structures, your model’s clothes, etc.

‘Colour reflections can give a very ugly and dirty shade on the model’s face,’ says Anastasia. ‘It’s something that not many people tend to think of, but it happens. It’s just something to be aware of and to make you a little more in tune with your environment. How will the light and colour interact in ways you don’t always anticipate? Just make sure you avoid areas that are likely to throw castes upon your model’s face in bright conditions. And that includes their clothes.’

Shoot at sunset for dramatic and atmospheric portraits

Of course, you can shoot at any time of the day, even if it’s cloudy weather. This is not a huge problem as in these conditions light will be scattered, giving your image a nicely diffused and soft light. In this case, it’s important to ensure you have plenty of open sky behind you (and facing the model) so that a good amount of light if highlighting your model.

‘However, if it’s a clear day, you need to be more careful about choosing the location. Light on a clear day can be very top-down, which will flatten your subject. In these conditions, it’s best to find a location that has a bit of shade and therefore some contrast between the light and dark areas.’

 Shoot backlit images to tackle issues of hard light on your model

If your chosen location is lacking in shaded areas and you’re still faced with the issue of hard light on the model, then a way around this is to turn the model away from the sun. Then either put the sun directly behind them or behind them just out of the frame. You can then capture the beautiful golden glow that will catch on the outline of your model, particularly when the sun is low in the sky during sunset.