Welcome to portrait tips and techniques.

Controlled candid portraits or candid portraits? In my experience clients will ask for natural candid portraits, but in the final selection invest more in controlled candids and good emotional classics. My sessions are nearly always a mix and the trick is to make the controlled candids appear natural and fun. 

Portrait tips: Think and create like a movie director. Movies are just a series of sequences,  controlled  to look real. Well that’s my approach. The thought of running around chasing kids without some direction and hoping I got it, would horrify me. 

The following is an example:

This is what I refer to as a controlled candid. It’s about giving some direction, then following the child and capturing the moment rather than creating it.

All I did was place him in a chosen area and checked where the light was coming from, my backgrounds & foreground and angle of view.This is all done before composing and setting the camera.

It’s called pre-visualising.

My composition and cropping was based on getting him to stop or slow down when his face was in front of the dark pylon, this allowed his face, hair and clothing to stand out from the background avoiding the brighter areas.

To make it more interesting, I asked his mother to call out to him as he approached the pylon. At that moment he stopped, turned his head and looked at her. It’s important that the mother’s height is just above the boys, not too much, but enough for the boy to look up and allow light into his eyes. If she is too low, he will look down and his eyes will be very dark with no catchlights to give life and sparkle.


It is a more emotional portrait when the subject can interact with a family member rather than the camera. Portrait tips: Try both.

The expressions are natural.

4621-19 blog

Camera – Canon 5D
Lens – 70-200 F2.8L
Focal length – 105mm
ISO – 400
Aperture – F5.6
Shutter speed – 1/125th
White balance – K (6000) corrected in RAW to 6200
Lighting – late PM natural light


Thanks for stopping by and until next time,

Happy shooting



  1. Darren Says:

    Beautiful shot Wayne.
    Great lighting and leading lines.
    Good strategy to position the mother, so that when she calls him you get that beautiful short lighting.
    Good to see you posting again it’s been a long time.
    Anything new in the pipeline, Book, DVD etc ?

  2. wayne Says:

    Hi Darren,
    Yes it’s been awhile unfortunately.
    No eBooks or DVD’S at this time, but I started a FaceBook page at
    I’ll be posting some different short tips there that may be of interest to you.
    I hope to start shooting for my next eBook soon, unfortunately it will take time
    to complete as I’m shooting specifically for it.
    Thanks for your comment.

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