20 March, 2008

Dear Natalie.

Dear Natalie,

I'm just curious about lighting ... do you take special gear with you when you take photos outdoors? I live in Florida and a lot of family/friends love having their photos taken by the beach. I just have a hard time taking photos with the sun being so harsh during the day.


Frustrated in Florida,

I shoot in available light. I very very rarely even use my flash. If you're having a hard time dealing with harsh light, I'd suggest trying to step into the shade. Or shoot later in the evening (or early in the morning) when the light is slightly softer but more importantly it's warm and coming down at an angle (rather than directly overhead) so that you don't have a problem with harsh shadows under the eyes and nose.

Although I don't shoot with flash very often, there are a few flash techniques you can try if you are forced to shoot mid-day. For the sake of time and interest I'll share one here that can easily be adapted to other situations. The bottom line is, if the subject is back lit or the sun is directly over head, you're going to be forced to use fill flash. You'll need to fill in the shadows on the subject's face with the flash. To get a handle on this, you'll set your camera to automatic, that way your camera will automatically use the fill flash if you're shooting directly into the sun like that. Then you'll want to do a few test shots. I say start relatively close to the subject and fire off a shot. Because you're shooting at the beach, you'll find that the reflective power of the sun bouncing off the sand coupled with the power of the flash at this range will most likely be too much. Check the lcd to be sure your subjects aren't blown out. Take a few steps back. . . same thing. . . a few steps back and try again. You'll start to get a sense of distance required to get enough fill to get rid of shadows and not too much so as to blow out facial structure. From there you can start to play around with manual settings (and external flashes set at particular intensities) and proper exposures to get an even more impressive result. But this is a great place to start!

Good luck and Happy Shooting!!

xoxo,

Natalie

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4 comments:

taryn said...

i took your advice and emailed you a pic of my daughter.

theJorgies said...

Hey Nat, Stef again from Taylor's party - our camera just decided it was done, so we're camera shopping. I'm a COMPLETE amateur but hope to learn photography over the next few months/years. So I would like a camera that's dummy friendly but that will grow with me as I become more experienced with doing stuff manually, changing lenses, etc. So far I have heard the Nikon d40 and Canon Rebel would be good starts ... any recommendations?

Anonymous said...

Dear Natalie,

Have you ever had the inside of your camera cleaned? I have the Nikon D40, it does not have a sensor cleaner. I have dust or salt or sumin' inside. Do you have any recommendations on were I should take it? Thanks,

Brooke

Anonymous said...

So I don't really know how this blog commenting thing works. my email is brooke@applesac.com to email me if you have a suggestion for me. Thanks! Brooke