BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Christy Jackme
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/3/2005
 

on-location, natural light portraiture-part1


Not so much a question. But a thread to discuss the highs and lows of shooting on location and with natural light. Any and all comments, questions,and suggestions welcome!
Where should we start?
How about a roll call... Hi, my name is Christy. I just started my own business a couple of ago. But was in studio photography for about 5 years prior. I am a stay at home mom and have a 2 year old son. And I have learned so much here from some wonderful people. Anyone else?


To love this question, log in above
11/2/2005 11:06:45 AM

 
Jay A. Grantham
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/21/2005
 
 
BetterPhoto.com Editor's Pick   Newborn Home
Newborn Home
© Jay A. Grantham
Olympus Stylus 500...
 
 
Hi Christy.. my first post on this forum was to
To love this comment, log in above
11/2/2005 1:38:25 PM

 
Jay A. Grantham
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/21/2005
  Aarrgh.. hosed the link.. here it is.

Hi Christy.. my first post on this forum was to Sheila Marie who has an outdoor set up at home. She uses a backdrop, the shade from her porch and natural light.. which seems like it works well because you don't have to have the early morning or late evening sun cooperating. While I still haven't purchased anything for a backdrop, I still think it is a great way to capture portraits!

A natural light picture that actually got me fired up about photography is one that I took of my son for a birth announcement.. though the IV bruise was taken out.

Would love to hear any outside studio ideas!


To love this comment, log in above
11/2/2005 1:40:19 PM

 
Anita Bower
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/3/2004
  I am in the process of buying a digital SLR and one of my main interests is natural light portraiture. I have little to offer here, but look forward to reading the posts of others.


To love this comment, log in above
11/2/2005 2:20:22 PM

 
Laura E. OConnor
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/12/2005
  Hi ALL!! I currently do mostly studio portrature with studio lighting, and I LOVE IT! However, I started with only natural light and my kids and need to re-learn how to do it! I SO want to do more natural light portraits to add to my repitoire and could stand to learn a few things from anyone who wants to share!

I am also a stay at home mom. I have a 2 yr old (girl) and 4 yr old (boy) and have JUST in the past few months found my nerve to persue my lifelong passion. I started a business called Life Images by Laura in August and it is really starting to do very well!

I want to get into outdoor shooting for families and senior portraits (eventually bridal and weddings...YIKES!), as well as indoors with natural light especially for children and maternity. TEACH ME! :)


To love this comment, log in above
11/2/2005 6:53:52 PM

 
Christy Jackme
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/3/2005
  Ok, there's enough of us here. Where should we start?
Jay- are you currently taking any paying clients?
Anita- what kind of camera are you wanting to get?

I have really fallen in love with natural light photography over the past few months. I like the photojournalistic approach to portraiture. To me, it feels so much more emotional. Like the subject doesn't really know you're there. And you are a fly on the wall looking in on their life. I like to capture moments that will have the same effect on a client in twenty years as it does today.
I have pictures from when my son was tiny that can still make me laugh or cry. And I know they always will.
Okay, who's next?


To love this comment, log in above
11/2/2005 7:35:54 PM

 
Sandy Landon
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/24/2005
  All I have ever done is natural light!! Still haven't ventured into that realm of studio lights!!! Price and fear are the big motives behind that!! I love the effects of natural light and so I use it to my advantage. I usually only shoot in the evening hours because that offers the best light, but now that daylight savings is in effect, that will change. My other big fear is winter is setting in and then no more outdoor shoots. Now what?? One question I have for those shooting in natural light, what do you set your aperture at. I have always set it between 3.8 and 5 to let in the most light possible so that I can keep it at ISO 200. Any suggestions. Everything I have ever done has been by trial and error so I look forward to the pros coming forward with their knowledge!!


To love this comment, log in above
11/2/2005 7:37:03 PM

 
Pat Wimpee   I'll definately be interested in this thread. I'm so intimidated by natural light, I'd love to know the settings everyone uses to get sharp, clear pictures with everyone in focus.


To love this comment, log in above
11/2/2005 9:14:01 PM

 
Jay A. Grantham
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/21/2005
  Christy, no paying clients yet. I'm still socking away pennies for gear.. hopefully will have a camera (digital SLR) in the coming months.. currently only have a Film SLR and Digi P&S.. Though I have been doing some shooting with my current cameras, I'm trying to sock away everything I can.


To love this comment, log in above
11/2/2005 9:27:10 PM

 
Cyndee Wanyonyi
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/7/2005
  I love natural light. It is definitely my friend :). I appreciate the ability to see exactly what I will get on my camera...no surprises. I have just ventured into studio lighting...still experimenting with that. I kind of started out the opposite of Laura...I have started with everything BUT studio work. I am excited to see what others have to offer...


To love this comment, log in above
11/2/2005 10:14:01 PM

 
Cyndee Wanyonyi
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/7/2005
  I love natural light. It is definitely my friend :). I appreciate the ability to see exactly what I will get on my camera...no surprises. I have just ventured into studio lighting...still experimenting with that. I kind of started out the opposite of Laura...I have started with everything BUT studio work. I am excited to see what others have to offer...


To love this comment, log in above
11/2/2005 10:16:00 PM

 
Anita Bower
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/3/2004
  I, too, am a stay at home mom, homeschooling my son who is now 16 and driving, thus giving me some time to pursue photography.

I am looking at Konica Minolta D5 and Pentax ist DS.


To love this comment, log in above
11/3/2005 3:56:54 AM

 
Danielle J. Richardson  
 
 
Here are some pictures I took using only natural light.


To love this comment, log in above
11/3/2005 3:58:52 AM

 
Danielle J. Richardson  
 
 
Here are some pictures I took using only natural light.


To love this comment, log in above
11/3/2005 3:59:50 AM

 
Anita Bower
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/3/2004
  One of the challenges I've faced using natural light is getting enough light on the eyes of the subject. I'm baffled by how to use reflectors--how to prop them up, how far away to put them, what type to use, etc.


To love this comment, log in above
11/3/2005 4:03:19 AM

 
Sandy Landon
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/24/2005
  Beautiful picture Danielle. The reflector I use is a gold one. Sometimes however it puts off too much warmth. Anyone else have that problem? The silver side is just way too harsh.


To love this comment, log in above
11/3/2005 9:05:26 AM

 
Anne M. Guidry
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/14/2002
  Hooray for this forum. There is a lot to learn and share about natural light.

I have taken a lot of photos of my new nephew indoors in window light, also using a little bounce flash. I'd love to hear comments about getting balanced light with reflectors indoors. I have had good luck using my built in flash (Nikon D70)(and my SB800)as fill flash outdoors to add catch lights in people's eyes.

While I love the look of natural light, and the informality of that look is my goal, I'd like to hear comments about fill flash as well.

Regarding shutter speed and depth of fiels, I've found it most challenging to get a small group all in focus, as well as a moving infant. I've had my best results using a tripod.

Anne


To love this comment, log in above
11/3/2005 9:45:36 AM

 
Christy Jackme
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/3/2005
 
 
BetterPhoto.com Editor's Pick   the strength of a father
the strength of a father
© Christy Jackme
Canon EOS Digital ...
 
 
Wow! I've been out all day, and when I came home my box was full of responses to this thread! Yeah!
Everyone here has such great galleries!
Sandy- You have so much great stuff in your gallery. You seem to be doing well and have many clients. So I know we will benefit from your business knowledge.
And Danielle- Love the pic you posted!
I have found that when I am shooting I prefer f5.6. I really like to blur out the background and focus on the subject. But I've started to notice that in a particular park I shoot at there is a LOT of shade. And at that setting my pics sometimes have blur.
It is hard to constantly change settings when you are trying to chase a small child around. So a lot of times I won't. I get the shot first. Then change up when I have time.
A note on reflectors. I too find them hard to use with a moving target. But I found great reflectors. They are actually the windshield shades you put in your car. I bought 2 at BigLots for a total of $3. They are silver on both sides. One side is very shiny, but the other is somewhat dull and makes for great light!
Oh, here's a pic from our day at the beach.


To love this comment, log in above
11/3/2005 5:38:18 PM

 
Jay A. Grantham
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/21/2005
  "blur out the background"

That is called bokeh.. achieved more easily with longer lenses and/or wider apperatures. From what I've read on it it is a pretty contraversial subject.. what is good bokeh and what is not so good bokeh.

Seems like you should shoot shutter priority while chasing the kiddos around.. and it's possible to do some "background blurring" in your image editor of choice.


To love this comment, log in above
11/3/2005 5:59:46 PM

 
shannon casey  
 
 
Christy, great topic. Danielle I LOVED that portrait! The element that really impressed me was how you used a kinda seedy looking background to such great effect. Very classic and cool. Especially in BW. You have definately inspired me to be a little more (or less!) picky about backgrounds in outdoor casual portraits. Thanks so much for starting this, ladies. I hope many more will contribute images and/or advice.


To love this comment, log in above
11/3/2005 6:03:15 PM

 
cj patterson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/8/2004
  great thread christy..thanks for starting it. I primarily shoot all outdoor portraiture. I am just starting to venture into the indoor studio realm. so far, I have only used natural light both indoors and outdoors. I LOVE natural light and the effects you can get depending on the time of day. I love that warm glow in the late evening...look forward to hearing what others have to contribute...i started my business in august of this year, and so far so good...


To love this comment, log in above
11/3/2005 6:46:37 PM

 
Sandy Landon
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/24/2005
  O.K. Christy thanks for the nice compliment but I think you are giving me way too much credit!! :) I am just playing it by ear and praying for the best. As far as a lot of different clients, those are all neighbor kids that I have stalked with my camera until they smiled! HEHEE! All kidding aside, I have just recently started my business and I have a lot of kinks to work out. The biggest one I have right now is what settings to use on groups. I just did a huge group, 53 people and 23 of them were children under the age of 7. Nightmare situation. But the question I have is there anyway to get all their faces crystal clear. I got the pic, but I am not happy with the clarity of their eyes. If the speed is not fast enough, should I bump it up to 400. Will 400 be too grainy if they enlarge it? Does anyone have any sucess stories with groups because I am really struggling there.


To love this comment, log in above
11/3/2005 9:40:32 PM

 
Anita Bower
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/3/2004
  I have a really basic question about reflectors. What do you use to prop them up? And, where do you put them? I especially like the car windshield screen idea. I'm thinking of still subjects, not kids running around.


To love this comment, log in above
11/4/2005 4:56:51 AM

 
Sandy Landon
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/24/2005
  The problem with reflectors is how to hold them. Luckily I have always had someone with me that will hold it. I know you can buy stands to hold them but I think they are not cheap.


To love this comment, log in above
11/4/2005 8:49:44 AM

 
Sandy Landon
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/24/2005
  Just saw in the B&H catalog a 5 in 1 reflector with the stand for $59. That is the normal price for just the reflectors so they are throwing in the stand for free.


To love this comment, log in above
11/4/2005 11:06:48 AM

 
Kimberly J. Whipps
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/10/2005
  Hello all...I too have a small photography business out of my home. I started in May this year and things are going very well. To date, I am a natural light shooter. I think every picture in my gallery is done with natural light. My studio, which used to be a shed in my backyard has a very large north facing window, a smaller east facing window and a skylight. This spring I hope to install french doors where the smaller window is, put the smaller window in the dressing room and invest in about 5 more skylights. I prefer natural light, but I live in Oregon and things are getting dark. So, I reluctantly made the jump and now I am just waiting for the UPS man to bring me my new alienbees light and softbox. A whole new world...however, I truly hope 3 seasons a year to be almost all natural. But winter here is just too gray for it. So there it is...I look forward to learning from you all.


To love this comment, log in above
11/4/2005 1:29:44 PM

 
Laura E. OConnor
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/12/2005
  Hey all! I wanted to let you know that CJ Patterson and I just started a new Yahoo Portraiture 101 group! It is specifically for those of us interested in portraiture. If you are interested in joining, please contact me or CJ for an invitation so you can join!!!


To love this comment, log in above
11/4/2005 1:35:48 PM

 
Christy Jackme
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/3/2005
  Hey Kimberly- I was hoping you would join in. Everyone check out Kimberly's gallery. Her work with natural light is perfection!
I'm so bummed. I had a shoot today that didn't go too well. 2 1/2 yr. old twin girls who did not want their picture together. Literally, if they touched they would start screaming!
We were suppossed to do a lot of the pics outside, but the girls kept complaining it was too hot (we're in Florida) so we had to go inside for most. And this house did not have any good natural light.
Thus, some of the pics are grainy and blurred. What do you guys suggest to do in this situation?I really don't want to work with studio lights unless I absolutely have to.
Should I be trying to use a tripod since I have to use such a slow shutter speed and wide aperture. It just seems like it would be too difficult with the kids moving so much. And my style is much more natural than posed. HELP!!!
FYI, I do send out a "what to expect form" when I schedule an appt. And I specifically say that if they want indoor portraits to make sure they have a room with plenty of natural light. this client said she had plenty.


To love this comment, log in above
11/4/2005 1:44:30 PM

 
Anita Bower
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/3/2004
  I am so impressed with the galleries of everyone who has written on this thread! You all inspire me to buy a digital SLR and get going!! Thanks.


To love this comment, log in above
11/4/2005 1:46:50 PM

 
Kimberly J. Whipps
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/10/2005
  Wow, thanks Christy - You flatter and humble me.

You know I thought the tripod would cramp my style too, but I use it about 75% of the time. Sometimes with the little people I have to get lower than it will go. It took some getting used too, but it definately makes a clearer shot. The head I have on mine moves really easily so I don't have to fuss over that with each shot. I would highly recommend a tripod with natural light.


To love this comment, log in above
11/4/2005 2:07:31 PM

 
Danielle J. Richardson   I want to thank everyone for the compliments. I look forward to the day when I formally learn about lighting. Until then, everything is luck of the draw!


To love this comment, log in above
11/4/2005 2:10:50 PM

 
Kimberly J. Whipps
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/10/2005
  Sorry, I just got an email from someone that reminded me, I guess I am not completely natural. I use a speedlite 580ex in my studio. I don't think of that as lighting, but maybe you do. Anyway, just wanted to clarify.


To love this comment, log in above
11/4/2005 2:11:11 PM

 
Pat Wimpee   Hey Christy, I think the problem with a lower shutter speed, would be the blur from the kids moving. I took some pictures yesterday of kids playing in the leaves at 125 speed and all their hands are blurry just from moving. Have you tried a speedlight? I just bought the 580 and am still trying to learn it, but I think it would give enough light indoors so you didn't have to use studio lights.


To love this comment, log in above
11/4/2005 2:14:49 PM

 
Christy Jackme
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/3/2005
  I guess I've been concerned about using any flash. I was advised by a photographer whose work I greatly admire, never to use any sort of flash. She says she only ever uses all natural light and her pictures are phenomenal and she is extremely successful.
But now that I know Kimberly uses one, I might have to give it a try. Because hers look very natural to me.


To love this comment, log in above
11/4/2005 2:19:31 PM

 
Danielle J. Richardson  
 
 
Here is another natural light photo.


To love this comment, log in above
11/4/2005 2:21:44 PM

 
Danielle J. Richardson  
 
 
Here is another natural light photo.


To love this comment, log in above
11/4/2005 2:22:44 PM

 
Kimberly J. Whipps
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/10/2005
  With the speedlite, which I do recommend, get an omnibounce to go over it, it diffuses and spreads the light around, also, point it straight up or behind you, never directly at the subject and you won't get that flat on camera flash look. Another thing that helped me tremendously was splurging for the 50mm 1.4 lens. I paid more for the wider aperture, but it was well worth it. Most of my photos are done with a aperture of 2.8 are wider. Excellent clarity too.


To love this comment, log in above
11/4/2005 2:23:55 PM

 
Danielle J. Richardson  
 
 
Sorry, I can't seem to figure out how to add pictures...


To love this comment, log in above
11/4/2005 2:24:20 PM

 
Alisha L. Ekstrom
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/30/2005
  OH YIPPEE!!! ANOTHER wonderful thread! I just LOVE these!! They're soo imformative. Well Laura I joined the yahoo group & I know it'll be great & beneficial. I LOVE natural lighting & all my pics are of natural lighting. I'm just trying to figure out the business part of photography so I am scared of lights till I have all my ducks in a row!!!!:):) I do both indoor & outdoor shoots. I use my son's bedroom for my indoor shots. He has 2 HUGE windows facing the sun side & it works well for me. POOR kid..He's going to have to get booted out of his room soon..hehe!! I do want to practice with the reflector. Haven't used that before. I have one of those car reflectors..BUT where do I angle it at? In front of the subject..by me? To their side? I'm a little confused on that part. I also use a tripod...at least the best I can. If indoors I always use it..when outdoors..depends on who I'm photography...adult or child:):) Anyhow everyone is soo knowledgable & this is great!!! Talk to you soon!!!

Alisha


To love this comment, log in above
11/4/2005 2:25:56 PM

 
Danielle J. Richardson  
 
 
If I can't upload this picture then please go to my gallery and look at the photo titled "Crystal Clear". I absolutely love this shot! I would also like your feedback.

Thanks


To love this comment, log in above
11/4/2005 2:30:57 PM

 
Andrew Laverghetta
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/13/2004
  Hey everybody, I was just hoping I might be able to learn something by checking out the responses to this thread.

And holy wow, I just read through this and before started to make a response there were already 5 more responses.

So, anyway, I like to do portraits but haven't had as much experience with it as I've wanted to. Recently, I've set up a studio in my small apartment at college and have managed to do some cool things with it I think. They're not a photojounalist style but more like formal kind of portraiture since that's kind of what I like more I think. I have taken some portraits outdoors at a park and I think they came out good as well. Oh, I forgot to say in my apartment I'm using 200Watt bulbs in 10 and 12 inch reflectors so not natural by any means.

I was also think about the person who recommended to never use flash. I think this is not really a good thing to recommend. When actually, for a little bit it could be recommeded but I don't think it should be the only thing. I think that if you know how to use flash/strobe properly, you can make it look like natural lighting. You'll definitly have to have a large studio and quality stuff but I know it can be done. Of course I don't have the money for the strobes so that's why I have my hotlights haha. I'm doing black and white with them though, so I don't have to worry about color balance. Oh, forgot to mention, the black and white studio portraits that I'm taking are for my class. I'll add a link so you can see just a few of the black and white images that I've printed.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v512/andrewsproofs/Other%20Photos/highkey.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v512/andrewsproofs/Other%20Photos/mysterioso.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v512/andrewsproofs/Other%20Photos/scratchednegative.jpg

and here's a color digital photo that I like:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v512/andrewsproofs/Jenny/_MG_5181.jpg


To love this comment, log in above
11/4/2005 2:49:14 PM

 
Lisa Carpenter
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2004
  Hi everyone. This is a great thread and right up my alley. I am also a stay at home mom of two boys. In the process of making photography into a real business, but am feeling somewhat insecure all of a sudden. Now I am overly scrutinizing every blasted photo. Why? Would anyone be willing to take just a moment and look at my gallery? It is a hodge podge of stuff I have done....just let me know your thoughts...good and bad? I am hoping to learn from and maybe help in this thread...thanks Lisa


To love this comment, log in above
11/4/2005 3:22:24 PM

 
Sandy Landon
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/24/2005
  Wow, this picked up fast!! As far as the reflector goes, I always position it on the side that is in shadow to bounce some light back in thier face. So if the sun was in the west, the reflector would either be in the souteast or northeast angled back to the individual. Don't directly bounce it in their face but feather the light across their face. I hope this makes sense. I don't know it this is the best way to do it...it is just what has worked for me.


To love this comment, log in above
11/4/2005 3:32:49 PM

 
Maverick Creatives
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/1/2004
 
 
  Outdoor Portrait
Outdoor Portrait
© Maverick Creatives
Canon EOS 20D Digi...
 
 
The picture shown here is a test shot. The two models shown in this picture and myself were scouting out a location for an outdoor family portrait to be shot the following day. You don't have to pay a model much, simply give them a few photographs or a cd for their portfolios. You can of course use your family or friends.
Notice the models in this shot are dressed in white. That is because I knew that the shoot location would be green with the grass and trees. We watched the sun begin to fall in the late afternoon sky and as a result light up the trees in the background.
BINGO,,,you have found your backdrop.
In this shot I did not use fill flash or reflectors however if I had required them I would have used them without hesitation. As a matter of fact I find my 580EX speedlite a valuable friend in outdoor photography.
I have posted this photograph to give you an idea of how to use the background to make the subjects "pop" and at the same time add to the beauty of the portrait. Look and you will see.
Hope it helps you get creative.

Regards
Gary.


To love this comment, log in above
11/4/2005 4:10:04 PM

 
Cyndee Wanyonyi
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/7/2005
  I have found that the flash does have a tendency to wash-out its subjects...however, I can see the importance of pointing it AWAY from your subjects :). This might help...

Honestly, I hate using flash. I think that it's probably because I dn't know how to use it yet...hmmm....


To love this comment, log in above
11/4/2005 5:55:12 PM

 
Maverick Creatives
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/1/2004
 
 
  Dual flash outdoor
Dual flash outdoor
© Maverick Creatives
Canon EOS 20D Digi...
 
 
Hi Cynthia.
If you are discovering that the flash has a tendency to wash-out your subjects then I would probably think settings or placement.
A flash is a piece of equipment that requires some study. Basically it's just light and light is what photography is all about.
In the above portrait I used two speedlites. The one on the camera was pointed upward at a 90 degree angle with the catchlight panel extended. The second speedlite was camera left just out of the lens range so as not to be included in the capture. I feathered the second flash so the main burst was behind the subject and the feathering only illuminated the hair and removed a few shadows.
It's only my opinion but I don't think the subject is washed out at all and that's with two flashes in use.
You know photographers use flash in outdoor photography, get out there and practice *smile*.

Regards
Gary


To love this comment, log in above
11/4/2005 6:22:36 PM

 
Laura E. OConnor
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/12/2005
  Gary, those are wonderful portraits! When you say you "feathered the second flash" do you mean with an omnibounce or an umbrella or something like that? What are your typical camera settings in a situation such as this??


To love this comment, log in above
11/4/2005 7:01:04 PM

 
Lisa Carpenter
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2004
  I read where some of you were getting back some slight blur in photos esp. when using available light. I have had some frustrations recently with this. I have had wonderful experience with crisp photos and then it seems there are times they aren't so crisp. But, I know that I need to watch focal length and shutter speed and all, but if I open up the aperture to get more light in, then if I am photographing, say two kids, then one is not full in focus....any thoughts???


To love this comment, log in above
11/4/2005 7:07:26 PM

 
Andrew Laverghetta
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/13/2004
  It's because the two of them aren't in the same plane of focus. With this you would need to have a smaller aperture to get both of them in acceptable focus. I would think this is the largest reason why people use strobes in studio to create and available like feel instead of trying to just use available light. It gives enough light to use a smaller aperture like f8, 11 or 16. This is usually where a lens is at it's sharpest.


To love this comment, log in above
11/4/2005 8:41:24 PM

 
Anne M. Guidry
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/14/2002
 
 
 
Here's one I could cry over. I went out of town for the birth of my new nephew, and didn't remember my tripod. The day we brought the baby home, we set up a "home studio" with only window light and a black velvet backdrop. To handhold the camera, even with a 50mm 1.8 lens, the depth of field was tiny. That didn't show up in the lcd screen on my camera. One option, had I known, might have been to rearrange the three in stronger window light. A tripod would have allowed me to use a longer shutter speed, and smaller aperture, hopefully increasing the dof.

Comments?

Anne


To love this comment, log in above
11/4/2005 8:53:20 PM

 
Anne M. Guidry
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/14/2002
 
 
  William and Jill and Jason
William and Jill and Jason
© Anne M. Guidry
Nikon D70 Digital ...
 
 
photo


To love this comment, log in above
11/4/2005 9:00:38 PM

 
Pat Wimpee   Gary, those pictures are great! I'd also be interested in what you mean by feathering the second speed light. Do you mean to angle it so the light just brushes the front of the model? Also, what settings were your camera on?


To love this comment, log in above
11/4/2005 9:45:55 PM

 
Lisa Carpenter
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2004
  Andrew, I don't know why I forgot about the fact that two people can be in focus even at 4.0 if they are in the "same plane of focus", forgot all about that....it must have been mostly slight camera shake huh? UGH oh UGH!!! Sometimes I think I have things pretty much under control and then something throws me a curve ball. Thanks for the reminder on that plane of focus.


To love this comment, log in above
11/5/2005 4:52:35 AM

 
Jay A. Grantham
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/21/2005
  Lisa.. can you post the EXIF for that photo?


To love this comment, log in above
11/5/2005 5:09:26 AM

 
Lisa Carpenter
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2004
  Jay, which photo? I am leaving for the day, but let me know and when I get home tomorrow I will do so, thanks!!!


To love this comment, log in above
11/5/2005 8:35:06 AM

 
Maverick Creatives
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/1/2004
 
 
 
Thank you Laura and Pat, I'm happy you like the portraits I've displayed. These are simple photographs. No Magic, no special equipment or talent is required, just a good understanding of light. As photographers we all develop our own style. I think mine is fairly obvious from the photographs displayed. I like shooting in early evening light in summer and I use the lit folage in the background as a backdrop. It dosn't matter if it's one person or a large group, I always place the subject in the shade and shoot with flash. I do however ensure that some sunshine is showing in the background. I think this gives the image a demention that I like.
By feathering I mean that the flash was adjusted (aimed) behind the subjects so that only the outer edge of light makes contact with skin or clothing. The main or center of the flash is shot off into the background where it will not affect the photo.
The settings are simple enough.

Photo 1 (Male and Female in white)
ISO 100, F 4.0, 1/60s, 70-200mm lens @ 98mm. Dual speedlites (wireless)

Photo 2 (Single Female sitting)
ISO 100, F 4.0, 1/125s, 70-200mm lens @ 131mm, Dual speedlites (wireless)

Photo 3 (Large group with motorcycle)
ISO 100, F5.0, 1/60s, 17-85mm lens @ 33mm, Dual speedlites (wireless)

As you can see the settings are nothing special. I think the background sun and the care in posing is what I pay most attention to. I suppose it's my "style" of shooting now.

Hope this info helps a bit.

Regards
Gary.


To love this comment, log in above
11/5/2005 12:38:04 PM

 
Maverick Creatives
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/1/2004
 
 
  Group Portrait
Group Portrait
© Maverick Creatives
Canon EOS 20D Digi...
 
 
Thank you Laura and Pat, I'm happy you like the portraits I've displayed. These are simple photographs. No Magic, no special equipment or talent is required, just a good understanding of light. As photographers we all develop our own style. I think mine is fairly obvious from the photographs displayed. I like shooting in early evening light in summer and I use the lit folage in the background as a backdrop. It dosn't matter if it's one person or a large group, I always place the subject in the shade and shoot with flash. I do however ensure that some sunshine is showing in the background. I think this gives the image a demention that I like.
By feathering I mean that the flash was adjusted (aimed) behind the subjects so that only the outer edge of light makes contact with skin or clothing. The main or center of the flash is shot off into the background where it will not affect the photo.
The settings are simple enough.

Photo 1 (Male and Female in white)
ISO 100, F 4.0, 1/60s, 70-200mm lens @ 98mm. Dual speedlites (wireless)

Photo 2 (Single Female sitting)
ISO 100, F 4.0, 1/125s, 70-200mm lens @ 131mm, Dual speedlites (wireless)

Photo 3 (Large group with motorcycle)
ISO 100, F5.0, 1/60s, 17-85mm lens @ 33mm, Dual speedlites (wireless)

As you can see the settings are nothing special. I think the background sun and the care in posing is what I pay most attention to. I suppose it's my "style" of shooting now.

Hope this info helps a bit.

Regards
Gary.


To love this comment, log in above
11/5/2005 12:39:25 PM

 
Jay A. Grantham
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/21/2005
  Sorry Lisa.. meant Anne.. the one that is blurred a bit.


To love this comment, log in above
11/5/2005 1:31:39 PM

 
Anne M. Guidry
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/14/2002
  Jay,

I used my 50mm 1.8 at f2, 1/60 sec. As I remember, that was the slowest shutter speed that I thought I could hand hold (no tripod). The light was great. If I had had my tripod, what f stop do you think would have gotten all three in focus? The baby was too tiny to move around a lot.

Thanks!

Anne


To love this comment, log in above
11/5/2005 3:56:49 PM

 
Jay A. Grantham
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/21/2005
  I don't know the answer to your question.. just trying to figure out for myself.. maybe you could have increased your ISO (don't know what it was set at or if it was auto setting).. have you practiced to see if you can hand hold steady at 1/60? I may be wrong.. but it looks like camera shake to me. :/


To love this comment, log in above
11/5/2005 7:32:36 PM

 
Maverick Creatives
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/1/2004
  Lisa, I'm curious, I also am using a canon 20D and was wondering what lens you are using for your portrait shots?

Gary


To love this comment, log in above
11/5/2005 7:47:43 PM

 
Sandy Landon
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/24/2005
  I may be wrong, but I have heard that the rule of thumb is never hand hold smaller the lens size. So if you have a 50mm you should be able to hold it at 1/60. If it was 105 you should not hold it with anything slower that 1/125. I know with my 50mm anything below f2.8 has such a shallow DOF. Even 2.8 is shallow enough that if I focus on their eyes, then everything behind is out of focus and if I focus on the nose, sometimes, depending on the lighting situation, even their eyes are not as sharp. So I wonder if f2 for the lighting conditions was just too shallow?? I am not an expert, just a thought.


To love this comment, log in above
11/5/2005 7:50:32 PM

 
Anne M. Guidry
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/14/2002
 
 
 
Could have been camera shake. But this lens is very sharp, and these are the first shots that have been consistently out of focus. Here are a couple of shots taken at about the same time, same place. The group is f2.0, the baby is f3, both 1/60. Window light only.


To love this comment, log in above
11/5/2005 8:23:47 PM

 
Anne M. Guidry
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/14/2002
 
 
  Jason and Jill and William
Jason and Jill and William
© Anne M. Guidry
Nikon D70 Digital ...
 
  William
William
© Anne M. Guidry
 
 
photos


To love this comment, log in above
11/5/2005 8:27:49 PM

 
Lisa Carpenter
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2004
  Hi Gary, I have 4 lenses. But the two that I use 95% of the time are the EF 24-70mm f2.8L USM and the EF 70-200mm f/4 L USM. For outdoor candid type shots, I LOVE my 70-200 lens. I really do like the 20D, what lenses do you use?


To love this comment, log in above
11/6/2005 4:55:07 PM

 
Maverick Creatives
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/1/2004
  laughing here, I also use the 70-200 f/4 canon lens and I also love the images it produces. It's a great portrait lens. Well, so much for THAT suggestion, lol. Both the outdoor portrait shots above were taken with that lens. Lisa, Something that just poped into my mind was the metering you are using. I use Evaluative Metering on the 20D and ALWAYS use manual focus on the lens. Although the lens/auto focus is good I still don't think it can do as good a job as my own eye.

My standard zoom lens is the EF-S17-85 f/4-5.6 IS USM. It's the one I used for the motorcycle shot and everyone seems in focus.

Regards
Gary


To love this comment, log in above
11/6/2005 5:28:44 PM

 
Lisa Carpenter
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2004
  Hi Gary, yes, I have the same 17-85 and it does a great job. So, you use evaluative and not center-weighted? I have tried both. I like your "country" shot. You feel as though you are there in that place too....
So, manual. How do you do that when subjects are moving around a good bit? I do admit, there are times I felt the picture could have been better focused..should I try manual?


To love this comment, log in above
11/6/2005 6:13:43 PM

 
Maverick Creatives
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/1/2004
  Lisa, should you use manual focus? sure, why not try it. Often it does make a noticeable difference. Auto everything is ok but I enjoy using my camera and like to control as much as I can to capture an image. On these lenses the manual focus rings will over ride the autofocus so with the lever in autofocus I press the shutter half way, fine tune the focus using the manual rings and fire away.
Works for me and it's a fun part of taking a photograph.
fine tuning is everything. I do suggest the evaluative metering. This mode is suited for most subjects even under backlit conditions.

Gary


To love this comment, log in above
11/6/2005 6:41:52 PM

 
Collette Photography
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/21/2005
  Hi all, great thread!! I am an on location photographer and am always struggling with natural lighting!! SO I'm looking forward to learning from you all!!

The last photoshoot that I did was senoir pictures and they were done mustly outside in the natural lighting, so you can all take a look on my web site and tell me how I could have done better!!!

Thanks,
Collette


To love this comment, log in above
11/9/2005 12:30:39 PM

 
Tim Geiss   Oh no, did this thread die off? Am I too late for the party?

Been shooting since August 2004 (talk about trial and error), I'm a stay at home daddy, done some outside portraits (some with natural light, but most of the time I'm always using fill flash), but I think most of the portraits are candid shots. No one knows I'm taking them and I love those shots the most.

Would like to start a small portrait business, but need more practice.

Looking to get some AlienBees strobes, but afraid. Never used strobes, just fill flash.

Almost never bother doing any post processing with my pictures, even though I know some of them need them. Yet another thing to learn.


To love this comment, log in above
12/6/2005 3:41:49 AM

 
Maverick Creatives
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/1/2004
 
 
 
Hello Tim, Welcome to Better Photo.com
If you are venturing into studio lighting you are correct in assuming there is a lot to learn.
For one example, If you get some Alienbees don't forget to get a flash meter. You will also need to grasp the basics of a post processing program. You will spend hours and hours or more correctly days and days shooting volunteer subjects or models to truly learn and understand your camera and how it reacts to the lighting.
Good luck, it's a very enjoyable hobby and well worth putting in a few years of practice before considering investing in it as a business.
I am showing a photograph using strobes in a studio. Much different than outdoor fill flash for sure. Go for the strobes.

Regards
Gary


To love this comment, log in above
12/6/2005 8:10:40 AM

 
Maverick Creatives
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/1/2004
 
 
  Strobes
Strobes
© Maverick Creatives
Canon EOS 20D Digi...
 
 
Hello Tim, Welcome to Better Photo.com
If you are venturing into studio lighting you are correct in assuming there is a lot to learn.
For one example, If you get some Alienbees don't forget to get a flash meter. You will also need to grasp the basics of a post processing program. You will spend hours and hours or more correctly days and days shooting volunteer subjects or models to truly learn and understand your camera and how it reacts to the lighting.
Good luck, it's a very enjoyable hobby and well worth putting in a few years of practice before considering investing in it as a business.
I am showing a photograph using strobes in a studio. Much different than outdoor fill flash for sure. Go for the strobes.

Regards
Gary


To love this comment, log in above
12/6/2005 8:15:50 AM

 
Tim Geiss  
 
 
Hi'a Gary,

Already have a flash meter: Sekonic L-358. Handles incident, ambient and flash. Hasn't gotten much use, though. Need to use it more and get used to it.

As for post processing, I've used Gimp, Photoshop Elements 2 (I'd use 4 but it requires XP), toyed with Levels (hunting for a good tutorial on that was a challenge), sometimes Curves, brightness, contrast, etc., etc., etc. I need to set up some sort of workflow for myself, even if it's just basic stuff. The post processing I have done...wow, what a difference between the two!

Since August '04 I've taken about...23,000 pictures. I've shot a handful of concerts, a ton of skydiving photography (all landing photos, some got published in one skydiving magazine), some macro, I guess just a little bit of everything.

I remember a while back not having any interest in portraits, but for some reason that has all changed. One of those rare occasions where I actually have a great desire to do something different.

I know some people, one professional model, that would probably be more than willing to let me shoot them. Wow, that just sounds wrong.

I spend about a week trying to figure out if I should use strobes or hot lights. Hot lights seemed cheaper at first, but the more I read, the less I liked them (they're hot, the lights themselves seem expensive, they don't last very long compared to strobes).

Now that I've decided on strobes it came down to do I buy one? Two? Four? From what I've read they say you can start with one, but two is better and so on.

I'm in this for the long run, so I'm going for a 4 strobe setup.

Ugh, hope I haven't ruined this thread by going from natural light to strobes. Probably isn't doing much harm since no one has mentioned anything for a month, eh?


To love this comment, log in above
12/6/2005 5:34:03 PM

 
Tim Geiss  
 
  Give Us This Day - band shot
Give Us This Day - band shot
© Tim Geiss
Canon EOS 20D Digi...
 
  Spates
Spates
© Tim Geiss
Canon EOS 20D Digi...
 
  Girl
Girl
© Tim Geiss
Canon EOS 20D Digi...
 
 
Hi'a Gary,

Already have a flash meter: Sekonic L-358. Handles incident, ambient and flash. Hasn't gotten much use, though. Need to use it more and get used to it.

As for post processing, I've used Gimp, Photoshop Elements 2 (I'd use 4 but it requires XP), toyed with Levels (hunting for a good tutorial on that was a challenge), sometimes Curves, brightness, contrast, etc., etc., etc. I need to set up some sort of workflow for myself, even if it's just basic stuff. The post processing I have done...wow, what a difference between the two!

Since August '04 I've taken about...23,000 pictures. I've shot a handful of concerts, a ton of skydiving photography (all landing photos, some got published in one skydiving magazine), some macro, I guess just a little bit of everything.

I remember a while back not having any interest in portraits, but for some reason that has all changed. One of those rare occasions where I actually have a great desire to do something different.

I know some people, one professional model, that would probably be more than willing to let me shoot them. Wow, that just sounds wrong.

I spend about a week trying to figure out if I should use strobes or hot lights. Hot lights seemed cheaper at first, but the more I read, the less I liked them (they're hot, the lights themselves seem expensive, they don't last very long compared to strobes).

Now that I've decided on strobes it came down to do I buy one? Two? Four? From what I've read they say you can start with one, but two is better and so on.

I'm in this for the long run, so I'm going for a 4 strobe setup.

Ugh, hope I haven't ruined this thread by going from natural light to strobes. Probably isn't doing much harm since no one has mentioned anything for a month, eh?


To love this comment, log in above
12/6/2005 5:35:03 PM

 
Tim Geiss  
 
 
Hi'a Gary,

Already have a flash meter: Sekonic L-358. Handles incident, ambient and flash. Hasn't gotten much use, though. Need to use it more and get used to it.

As for post processing, I've used Gimp, Photoshop Elements 2 (I'd use 4 but it requires XP), toyed with Levels (hunting for a good tutorial on that was a challenge), sometimes Curves, brightness, contrast, etc., etc., etc. I need to set up some sort of workflow for myself, even if it's just basic stuff. The post processing I have done...wow, what a difference between the two!

Since August '04 I've taken about...23,000 pictures. I've shot a handful of concerts, a ton of skydiving photography (all landing photos, some got published in one skydiving magazine), some macro, I guess just a little bit of everything.

I remember a while back not having any interest in portraits, but for some reason that has all changed. One of those rare occasions where I actually have a great desire to do something different.

I know some people, one professional model, that would probably be more than willing to let me shoot them. Wow, that just sounds wrong.

I spend about a week trying to figure out if I should use strobes or hot lights. Hot lights seemed cheaper at first, but the more I read, the less I liked them (they're hot, the lights themselves seem expensive, they don't last very long compared to strobes).

Now that I've decided on strobes it came down to do I buy one? Two? Four? From what I've read they say you can start with one, but two is better and so on.

I'm in this for the long run, so I'm going for a 4 strobe setup.

Ugh, hope I haven't ruined this thread by going from natural light to strobes. Probably isn't doing much harm since no one has mentioned anything for a month, eh?


Here's a couple shots.


To love this comment, log in above
12/6/2005 5:44:00 PM

 
Tim Geiss  
 
 
Hi'a Gary,

Already have a flash meter: Sekonic L-358. Handles incident, ambient and flash. Hasn't gotten much use, though. Need to use it more and get used to it.

As for post processing, I've used Gimp, Photoshop Elements 2 (I'd use 4 but it requires XP), toyed with Levels (hunting for a good tutorial on that was a challenge), sometimes Curves, brightness, contrast, etc., etc., etc. I need to set up some sort of workflow for myself, even if it's just basic stuff. The post processing I have done...wow, what a difference between the two!

Since August '04 I've taken about...23,000 pictures. I've shot a handful of concerts, a ton of skydiving photography (all landing photos, some got published in one skydiving magazine), some macro, I guess just a little bit of everything.

I remember a while back not having any interest in portraits, but for some reason that has all changed. One of those rare occasions where I actually have a great desire to do something different.

I know some people, one professional model, that would probably be more than willing to let me shoot them. Wow, that just sounds wrong.

I spend about a week trying to figure out if I should use strobes or hot lights. Hot lights seemed cheaper at first, but the more I read, the less I liked them (they're hot, the lights themselves seem expensive, they don't last very long compared to strobes).

Now that I've decided on strobes it came down to do I buy one? Two? Four? From what I've read they say you can start with one, but two is better and so on.

I'm in this for the long run, so I'm going for a 4 strobe setup.

Ugh, hope I haven't ruined this thread by going from natural light to strobes. Probably isn't doing much harm since no one has mentioned anything for a month, eh?


Here's a couple shots.


To love this comment, log in above
12/6/2005 5:44:20 PM

 
Raj Nagavi   ok, this very good photo's. I like it ?


To love this comment, log in above
4/10/2006 7:23:19 AM

 
Raj Nagavi  
 
 
ok, this very good photo's. I like it ?


To love this comment, log in above
4/10/2006 7:23:27 AM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  Old thread! I just saw it from the new activity... I'm with you guys in that I shoot mostly natural light, some with my 420 flash. I recently did a senior session in super cold weather & no sun, so I was prepared to improvise with some 12" work lights in silver reflectors (work lights on clamps) and daylight bulbs. It worked well, but shutter speed was still a problem, still not quite enough light.

I hate shooting with my tripod, but I have to force myself to more, because some of my shots are disappointingly soft.

Anything new happening here??


To love this comment, log in above
4/10/2006 9:19:50 AM

 
Maverick Creatives
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/1/2004
 
 
 
super cold temperature, windy, lakeside, brrrrrr. Not so sure about this Natural Lighting in early spring.
Here's a couple from yesterdays outdoor shoot. BBBrrrrrrrrrrrr.


To love this comment, log in above
4/10/2006 9:29:13 AM

 
Maverick Creatives
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/1/2004
 
 
  Jennie
Jennie
© Maverick Creatives
Canon EOS 20D Digi...
 
  Jennie
Jennie
© Maverick Creatives
Canon EOS 20D Digi...
 
 
try again.


To love this comment, log in above
4/10/2006 9:34:55 AM

 
Stephanie D. Moon
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/20/2006
  Hi. I don't know if this is too old to respond to. I love everybody's work. I too use only natural light. Any thoughts about getting that super white background using only natural light? I have found it to be very difficult and only achievable digitally. Does anyone want to share their methods? I know it is Christmas weekend so I understand if no one responds for awhile. Have a good weekend/holiday.


To love this comment, log in above
12/23/2006 9:06:22 AM

 
Log in to respond or ask your own question.