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mjtlee View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mjtlee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Outside portraits
    Posted: 28 Feb 2016 at 11:12pm
Hi. I would appreciate some guidance. I am trying to work through different scenarios in photography to learn how to be a better amateur photographer and understand the kit. I went outside today with my speedlight hoping to get better acquainted with outdoor flash work and struggled a good deal. I was trying to take a portrait with the aperture wide open in bright Caribbean sunlight. I assumed that if I had the lowest ISO, a wide aperture, a fast shutter speed (Nikon D750 set to HSS), and my Nikon SB 910 manual on full power on a stand, then I might have some chance shooting against a sunny sky.

I struggled. I started trying to shoot through a white umbrella but there was not enough power. I then used the speedlight with no diffusion and it was too hash. The best I could come up with accompanies, but I have discard loads of shots either because the sky was too bright or the subject was too dark and I could not find a happy place.

My thoughts were: do I need more power (e.g. more speedlights or outdoor strobe) +/- do I need an ND filter? Or have I just got something wrong? Thanks in anticipation. John

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horizon View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote horizon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Feb 2016 at 5:24am
G'day John,

Welcome to Karl's place, we hope you enjoy your stay.

Not too bad for a first attempt.

Learning outdoor portraiture can be a difficult art to master. And as there is not magic formula to getting the correct results, its all a matter of trial and error and learning what works and what doesnt and how to make use of the camera / lens functions and other aids at your disposal to make the correct adjustments.

The first thing is to envision what you want the final image to look like. And then using the camera functions and other equipment to go about creating what you have envisioned as your final image.

The high shutterspeed used is much higher than that required for portraiture, where you could use a shutterspeed of about 1/160 - 1/250. However, when using a wide open aperture in an effort to reduce the DoF (Depth of Field), having the lowest ISO, if the results are that the image is overexposed, then using an ND Filter will help in balancing the exposure.

When you take a light reading from the background (such as you have here being the sky) you would generally underexpose the background by about 1 - 2 stops and then adjusting Flash Power to correctly light the subject.

A few things to consider is the Time of Day to best shoot outdoor portraiture due to the bright midday sun or if possible find a shaded area to shoot in and again using flash to balance the light how you want the image to appear.

Another thing that you can use to your advantage is that the closer you are to your subject the shallower the DoF and that will mean that you can reduce the aperture to achieve the same DoF as that you were using a wide open aperture by changing the camera orientation to portrait and moving closer to make the background more blurred and then using a smaller aperture to regain the DoF you can abtain the correct exposure. Remember to use the inbuilt Light Meter to assist you to get the exposure you want.

When using a shutterspeed higher than that of the Maximum Flash Sync Speed before the camera wants the flash to go to HSS, this sync speed is about the maximum shutterspeed that you would expect to use. And when your flash goes into HSS mode, the way it functions is that the flash momentarily peaks the light output at maximum then reduce the output to that of about half power and holds it there for the duration of the shutter. This is something that you basically want to avoid if possible.

I would highly recommend looking through the Videos Karl has available to help you to understand Flash Portraiture and camera functions in general.

I hope it helps.

Regards,
Craig

Edited by horizon - 29 Feb 2016 at 5:26am
Camera's are tools, use what is right for you.
Please dont edit my photo's.
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mjtlee View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mjtlee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Mar 2016 at 2:03pm
Hi Craig. Thanks very much for getting back. I saw the reply later this week and knew I wanted a little time to think about it.

You have given me some very helpful guidance. I have five of Karl's CDs. I know there is a scene where he shoots by the beach in low sun but I have been searching and can't find it - if anyone could point me to it that would be appreciated and I will also try and look for it again. There are also several scenes where he shoots around Paris, but he has outdoor studio lights with him which will clearly have the power for the job.

I wonder if you feel more light power adds a good deal of flexibility in bright sunlight? Or whether I need to adjust what I am trying to achieve (i.e. using your suggestions of ND filters, or moving closer to achieve the same DoF with a smaller aperture). A friend wants me to do some outdoor shots around a poolside for her burgeoning jewellery and fashion store despite me trying to persuade her that this is technically difficult in bright sunshine without the model squinting with his / her face to the sun.

With thanks. John
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davenn View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote davenn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Mar 2016 at 2:18pm
Agree with Craig

it really is a good pic
the subject is well lit ... very even lighting, is really separated from the background and is as sharp as a tack
The amount of lighting you use really depends on the effects you want to achieve. low key ( darker) mid range ( as you have) or high key

It really boils down to experimenting and determining what you like for a specific set of images ...
Keep looking through Karl's videos and I suggest looking through other videos on youtube from other photographers ... dunno if it is appropriate to mention in open forum so I wont ... there's some really good portraiture stuff out there lighting stuff out there


Dave
Canon 5D3, 6D, 700D a bunch of lenses and other bits, ohhh and some Pentax stuff
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mjtlee View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mjtlee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Mar 2016 at 9:33pm
Thanks Dave. Will work at it and explore. John
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