March 2021 // The Senior Edition

How to Use Natural Light for Modern Senior Portraits | Carlee Secor


From the beginning of my career, I decided I loved the look of backlit photos the most. It made for the cleanest, sharpest looking photos every time. No matter what time of day, or even if it’s cloudy, I make sure the sun is behind my subject. Obviously I break this “rule” from time to time (there really are no rules with photography in my opinion). But it’s a style I’ve stayed consistent with and it works best for me. Always focus on the placement of the sun and place your subject’s head directly in front of the sun. This works best during golden hour.

Settings: f1.8 @ 1/250 iso 100


My setup is a 55mm 1.8 Zeiss on the Sony A7III. A true portrait lens is 50mm and anything longer. Almost every photo I take is with this lens. My settings are usually 1/200 shutter speed, 1.8 aperture and 100 ISO during golden hour. Before I switched to Sony I was with Nikon for three years, and even shooting with my Nikon D750 I mostly stuck with a 50mm 1.4 for every portrait session or wedding. Since switching from Nikon I’ve never once regretted my decision. Sony Mirrorless is fast, sharp and so much lighter. This circles back to me only carrying and working with minimal gear. I really believe you produce better work if you know the ins and outs of the gear you consistently use vs. switching it up. Very rarely do I change my lens, and if I do it’s to an 85mm! I don’t use a 35mm for portraits because I feel like it can distort the image. If you are looking for a simple, go-to portrait lens I recommend a 50mm 1.8. They’re cheap and easily the best.

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