Things you will need:
~Camera (I mean you have to have it to take pictures right?) More specifically an SLR or DSLR. (single lens reflex meaning a camera with changeable lenses) and you want to be able to do everything manual.
~a subject, you may want to practice on inanimate objects first since they... don't move. Grab your shoes, an apple, a flower, whatever. Practice your composition and lighting with it before you try to tackle an energetic child or a bored teenager or a couple, etc.
~ a reflector. Now, you can buy an expensive reflector if you want (I have a Promaster, system pro 5 in 1), but to start off you can get some white foam core from your local craft store or wal-mart for a couple of bucks. Once you are comfortable you can move up to the professional ones if you want but, if you're not going pro, I wouldn't spend the money on it.
Now you can have fun! Try to avoid high noon sun, unless you have a diffusor or a spot out of the sun. Otherwise you get yucky shadows under the eyes. My favorite times to shoot are Sunrise through about 2 hours after sunrise, and 2 hours before sunset through to sunset. The lighting is softer and much more attractive on people.
My favorite lighting is backlight which is what I am going to show you today.
This image was taken at 8:23 am about 2 hours after sunrise. We did some rock climbing to get to this location and I wanted the sun behind her to give her a very pretty hair light. I brought along Paul Bright (the name this girl and her sister helped me give my reflector).
I propped the reflector up on me while I shot. I used my wide angle lens(EF24-70mm f2.8L). The stats: 1/200th of a second at f 4.0. Focal length 24mm. Iso 100. I also used my flash with a diffusor to give me the full amount of light I wanted.
Here is the before post production shot (camera raw):
In post production I sharpened, added contrast... adjusted the brightness using curves. On this particular image I used a few MCP Fusion actions (Exact-o-sharp -it lets me choose where I want the sharpening to go,which in this case I lightly sharpened all of her then did another layer over her face and a third over her eyes. different directions @ 55% opacity -adding the contrast, color with markers @66% opacity-to darken the color of the eyes and add back the blush that the flash washed out on her cheeks, and golden @ 10% opacity to give the entire image a warmer color). With actions you are meant to adjust the opacity of each action to your liking. I never keep the opacity at full strength of any action I use.
Any questions? If you want me to go into more detail just ask! :) Don't forget to become a follower! Have a lovely day and happy shooting!