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Hope Taylor is a photographer specializing in senior portraits serving both Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA.


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Skin Tones + Natural Reflectors For Photographers

For Photographers

Lately, I have had quite a few people ask how I achieve clear, consistent skin tones in my images and how my clients are always evenly lit. This is a WONDERFUL question, and something that I LOVE to cover in-depth during the shooting portion of my one-on-one mentoring sessions! I strongly believe that one of the defining aspects of my style as a photographer is the fact that I always to to have bright, fun, evenly lit images with accurately colored skin tones. And that’s not always easy!!! But, hopefully today’s blog post will help you achieve the same thing!

When I am shooting a portrait session or at a wedding, the NUMBER ONE thing that I am looking for is light! I will ALWAYS shoot in a location with beautiful light over almost anything else. Even if there is a spot on the venue that is beautifully landscaped + a perfect backdrop for portraits…I will keep on looking until I find somewhere with soft, even, flattering light. This is crucial to the quality of my images! There are 3 things that I always look for in order to ensure my light is even + creating beautiful, flawless skin tones:

1. Look for natural reflectors:

This one is the biggest tip in today’s post!!! When looking for locations to shoot, look for NATURAL reflectors. White concrete, light colored walls, sand, sidewalks, white gravel roads, etc…all of these locations will naturally bounce fill light onto your clients faces! This helps immensely in reducing shadows on your client’s faces to create flawless skin!

You can’t tell, but in these photos, Jordan is sitting in a field RIGHT on the edge of a white concrete sidewalk!! If I had her move two feet back into the field, the light reflecting on her face would be green, and that’s never flattering!


Right after the previous photo, we moved Jordan into a gorgeous golden field of tall grass. You can tell that the light bouncing on her face is a tad warmer, and that’s because the grass is acting as a reflector! It’s bouncing beautiful, warm light back onto her face, and it’s PERFECT because the sun was about to set and we needed a tad bit of warmth in the images!


2. Shoot backlit or in open shade:

These are my two FAVORITE lighting situations to shoot in and what I am always trying to find! Keep an eye out for open shade (a shaded spot where you client can look up and still see the sky) or, when the sun starts to set, backlit images are beautiful! This keeps the sunlight even on the skin and avoids harsh lines. Try to steer clear of splotchy, “spotty” light, especially on skin!


3. Slightly overexpose in post!

When editing my images, I always brighten them to the point of being slightly overexposed. This blows out some of the highlights and creates smoother, more flattering skin! It will slightly blow out any blemishes and uneven skin tones so that they appear minimal.

BONUS TIP: If one of my clients has incredibly uneven skin, large bags under eyes, blemishes, etc…I will use the Photoshop clone stamp tool at 35% opacity to smooth out those imperfections!



If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy these:

Mastering Backlit Images 

Partnering with Boutiques 

Posing Tips | Senior Sessions 

  1. Jessica says:

    LOVE IT! XOxo

  2. Rita Wortham says:

    Thanks for sharing, LOVE LOVE THIS!!

hi, y'all!

I'm Hope Taylor, an international Senior Portrait and Wedding Photographer based in Charleston, SC. I'm also an educator, international speaker, and the host of multiple sold-out workshops each year!



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