Finding the light in outdoor portraits
Sent Tuesday, October 4, 2011
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like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary
ingredient in living, it's a way of looking at life through the wrong
end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh
at life's realities." ~Theodore Geisel~
Learning to see, and use the light to your advantage, is no different
than using studio lights in your studio.
All you gotta do is look for it. Create the best angle,find and use the
best light. There's no mystery to it. It's a skill set like any other skill
Then there's trying to get the best pose and positioning
when working with a two year old. That's another topic for another
day. Let's stick with the basics for now, shall we? Working with,
finding and using the best possible light that mimics and re creates
studio lighting. But outdoors.
In this image, yes, a two year old, I managed to do this. Granted, when chasing
a two year old it is a bit of crap shoot, but you need to be patient, play the odds,
and grab the opportunity when it arrives.
First, the gear. Then the light. I use a Nikon D700. I love to use my 70-200,
cranked out to 200 when possible, which I managed on this shot. At 2.8. ISO 200. Handheld.....
Notice the light falling on her face. More importantly, notice the shadow side
on her left, our right. And, finally, look at that hairlight. That's telltale as to where the sun was. She's facing north west, the sun was way behind, and I got lucky with
some of it creeping through the trees onto her hair. I'll take it!
I made some crazy noise to get her attention. She gave me a nano second, then it
was over. But captured forever......
Same area, different session, this time with two....yes two little ones. I like
a challenge. They are responding to mom, who is strategically placed
to my left....
Same session, same little boy. I turned him away from the light, so his head would
turn towards his mom, creating nice portrait lighting....
Again, another session, a four year old. More manageable, looking at mom,
hands in pockets and a great smile...
Okay, here's the scene. My neighbours yard is the area I discovered. It's perfect!
Look closely at the wall of trees to the right. That is KEY! It acts as a gobo or
scrim, so to speak. Largely, it stops the light and creates those rich, deep shadows.
Over to the left is Roxie, the beagle dog. He's barking the entire time
and is adding to the challenge.
Here's what the subject would see. Let's call this the "light source" or main
light. Bring this all together and you have the results shown on the images above. Simple, and effective, ain't it?
Here's another example in the same area, just outside my studio.
I work and live in the country, loads of trees and cool areas to shoot in.....
In these images, I use the old cedar fence to help stand the babies up.
Again, same lens as above. In these shots, I've added a large reflector.
I merely throw it on the ground, in front of the subject, just out of camera range.
It kicks in some extra light to give the image some glow.
Why don't I use a reflector in the above scenes? Simple, not enough room.
Here's the scene from my drive way...
And here's what the subject would see. I can use this area in the morning, or late
afternoon. Depending on cloud cover and sun.....