Day 321 – Outdoor Portraits

Outdoor portraits with off camera flash is an area I am currently exploring. I think it is really important to be able to achieve the image that you want to create and take control of the light wherever you are. The hardest part about outdoor shoots is finding someone willing to be photographed, who has time to be photographed and who is willing to listed to direction.

I have been listening and watching other photographers and I am learning how to get the model to look where I want them to, so today I put some of that into practice.

Outside portraits - ISO100, F4.5, 1/160sec - bounced flash
Outside portraits – ISO100, F4.5, 1/160sec – bounced flash

My aim was to focus in on a close up of the models face, to create catch lights in his eyes and neutralise the background so the focus was on the person. I wanted to use a shallow depth of field so that the background would drop away, but I want to include enough information that you can appreciate you were on location.

outside portraits - ISO100, F3.2, 1/250sec - bounced flash
outside portraits – ISO100, F3.2, 1/250sec – bounced flash

I had to be careful not to go to shallow with the depth of field and to position myself carefully with the bounced flash not to get a reflection in the glasses, and to make sure that I focused in on his eyes and not the glasses – this mean I had to select a single focal point on my camera and place it accurately.

From above (he stood in the ditch!) ISO100, F3.2, 1/250sec
From above (he stood in the ditch!) ISO100, F3.2, 1/250sec

I also wanted to experiment with camera angles – taking a photo from above rather than below, in this case the background is really simplified – the diagonals rum strongly through the image – but as well as reflections I need to be aware of whether my angle effects where the glasses are position across the eye.

Leaning against the building - ISO100, F3.2, 1/250sec
Leaning against the building – ISO100, F3.2, 1/250sec

I moved further away, and changed direction for this image – an important factor to consider, not only can the model move but the photographer can too, in this case by moving I have been able to capture the model against a plain textured background, you loose the sense of location, but your focus is very much on the person, perhaps it he was not leaning against the building but with a few steps between I would have got a better sense of depth.

Leading lines - ISO200, F4.5, 1/400sec
Leading lines – ISO200, F4.5, 1/400sec

By increasing the shutter speed to ISO 1/400 and choose high speed sync for my flash, I am able to darken down the background and add a different mode to the image – I wanted to continue the off camera experiments I started the other day.

Directed flash dialed down, F4.5, 1/2000sec, ISO100
Directed flash dialed down, F4.5, 1/2000sec, ISO100

In the photo above I directed the flash directly at the model, but dialed in down 2 stops – I would have liked to soften it in a diffuser, but it was too windy, I increased the shutter speed to 1/2000 sec so that the background was really darkened down and used the flash to light my subject. This is what I was hoping for, and I managed to achieve the shot without creating any reflections in  the models glasses.

Photographing people with glasses.

Working with someone with glasses can add additional problems, as often you get reflections off of glasses which can ruin the look on the photo and make editing photos a nightmare – so it it important to know how to prevent this happening.  It is all to do with the angle of incidence and the angle of reflection… and all you need to do is change the angle of the flash … watch this video to find out more.

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