Portrait Photography Tips with Bella West FBIPP FRPS

Environmental Portrait Photography is one of the most satisfying ways to capture amazing images of people. By environmental we mean shooting outside on location with available light. Bella West is one of my favourite photographers as well as a personal friend and she’s a master with available light portraiture. She rarely uses flash, is great at posing people and often introduces a graphic element into her photography.

In this video I take a step back and become Bella’s photo assistant and lend a hand by holding a reflector for her as she shoots some amazing portraits of her daughters. A reflector is really handy with available light portraiture because you can add a sparkle to someone’s eyes and just lift the light a little.

If you’d like to know more about photographic reflectors and using them when shooting portraits please come and learn all about them for free at http://www.photographycourses.biz/how_to_use_a_reflector.html
Video Rating: 4 / 5


  1. Neil Franklin
    April 16, 2015 at 4:34 am #

    Hmmmm… not quite sure on the people skills but some good shots .
    Personally didn’t like the light in the background, felt it looked to

  2. Gary Chow
    April 16, 2015 at 4:55 am #

    I’m a novice so bit puzzled why the need to go full manual. If you go full
    manual wouldn’t you have to start somewhere; that is, either choose an
    aperture or shutter speed or ISO setting and then from that setting be
    guided by the camera’s light meter to determine the other setting/s? Given
    this is a portrait session and the light is even, I assume speed is not a
    big factor, but aperture would be. So why not just go aperture priority
    with a fixed ISO and let the camera give you the speed? If the exposure
    from that is not to your liking, just adjust the speed?

  3. urbansheepdog
    April 16, 2015 at 5:12 am #

    That was very interesting. Good points on ‘age appropriate’ posing too. I
    was photographing my 14 year old granddaughter the other day. What a
    difficult age for posing. Mum loved the shots…… Gran wasn’t so sure! 🙂
    I’ve never used reflectors outside before, must look into that as the
    lighting was lovely on these shots..
    ……. and Oh dear me…… a ‘Blad! …….. droooooollll! Makes
    the Nikon and Canon boys look like toy time! lol! Another great video

  4. strangecloudssundogs
    April 16, 2015 at 5:45 am #

    nasty cough… bet she doesnt smoke……………………….

  5. GelbesP
    April 16, 2015 at 6:12 am #

    I realy dont like the “good girl” because to me that sounds like she is
    direkting dogs. So a “good” would be more my thing. But i’m impressed with
    the shots and the posing instructions she really knows what she is doing.

  6. dweezel theyounger
    April 16, 2015 at 7:02 am #

    “Flash kills a portrait”? Light is light. Use it to your best advantage no
    matter where it comes from, and “make” a photograph – whatever it takes.
    Regulating yourself to natural light only, only serves to limit creativity.
    Some fantastic portraits have been taken outside with flash. The trick is
    to not be “afraid” of flash, learn how and when to use it, and master it.
    Some of the best outdoor portraits have been taken with a flash, but you’d
    never know one had been used.

  7. sabir ayaz
    April 16, 2015 at 7:08 am #

    Need cough syrup there.

  8. Dillon Danlag
    April 16, 2015 at 7:47 am #


  9. William Bruno
    April 16, 2015 at 8:01 am #

    oh, dear god, i love her british accent

  10. Geoff Chalcraft
    April 16, 2015 at 8:44 am #

    Love the video, but oh dear – the subtitles! Bad spelling, bad grammar and
    occasional complete misunderstanding/mishearing.
    Glad I can turn the words off!

  11. Rath WOLF
    April 16, 2015 at 9:16 am #

    thanx for sharing…im learning..tnx a lot:)

  12. Mohamad Qatawi
    April 16, 2015 at 9:56 am #

    mike big hart man loool

  13. Dominick Hildebrand
    April 16, 2015 at 10:31 am #

    she coughed into hand and touched the young girl’s hair lol

  14. Thuy Tran
    April 16, 2015 at 11:10 am #

    who brings out a HASSY for a location shot!?!?! omg

  15. Dilly Vue
    April 16, 2015 at 11:42 am #

    wow so beautiful
    but after those shot
    did you crop and edit the photoshop?
    yep the flash is not the best
    I once saw a woman say use the flash
    and I was like
    this isn’t the video for me
    flash is bad and use too much battery

  16. raymond jefferson
    April 16, 2015 at 12:20 pm #

    how can u make the pics better if its a dull day and u wont to get the
    background in the shot aswel 

  17. Bobby Mathiwathanan
    April 16, 2015 at 12:31 pm #

    Really enjoyed and learned watching this video

  18. Randell John
    April 16, 2015 at 12:31 pm #

    The shadows seem very long for mid day in Spring?

  19. Nikolai Karaneschev
    April 16, 2015 at 1:13 pm #

    What gear does she use? 

  20. Jakub Kurzawa
    April 16, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

    It’s a medium format camera so it has to be big. 🙂

  21. Max Rosgen
    April 16, 2015 at 2:18 pm #

    they are her own children i think.

  22. TheCuriousStudio
    April 16, 2015 at 2:52 pm #

    Our hill must be one of the most photographed hills in the UK… it is so
    beautiful. So proud to live there. It’s the best place to shoot when it’s
    been snowing too! And I’m in love with her camera.

  23. jai309
    April 16, 2015 at 2:59 pm #

    I believe Bella said chipped varnish. No one likes chipped varnish.

  24. Stuart Carson
    April 16, 2015 at 3:45 pm #

    Loving the videos’s Mike. Probably the best channel on here for the budding
    photographer. Simple informative and very personable. Keep up the good

  25. ofromdamo
    April 16, 2015 at 3:57 pm #

    I hate cheap varnish, no that’s a little over the top, what Bella has in
    talent lacks in human relationships and respect.