Catchlights and outdoors...please help

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Photos de l'amour, May 2, 2010.

  1. Photos de l'amour

    Photos de l'amour TPF Noob!

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    I have been experimenting and am in need of some help. I try my hardest to search and find the answers but this time I have to post a question.

    I have no lighting equipment and am wondering how you get catchlights when you photograph outside in the shade. Last time I used my reflector and and it helped but this time I couldn't "catch" the light.

    Do I need an off camera flash and if so, how do I set that up? Is there any way to use the camera flash for this??
     
  2. TylerF

    TylerF TPF Noob!

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    the built in flash is usually no good. you might be able to get away with dialing the power down but im not too sure. off camera flash usually is the easiest way to do it. a reflector placed strategically could do it too. try moving to the edge of the shade so you can grab some of the sun
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    If all you are looking for it catch lights, then the on-camera flash should work just fine.
    If you need fill light, then the on-camera flash can work well too.

    The main reason to get the flash off-camera, is that we want our main/key light to be off axis, so that we can see light and shadow on the subject/model. But fill light isn't supposed to cause shadows, so it can be on axis.

    Even if you flash isn't powerful enough for fill light, it should still be able to put a small catchlight in your subject's eyes.

    But I would still say that a big reflector is a better way to get nice catchlights.
     
  4. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well... moving your subject into the shade is a good start with outdoor portaits, but if all the light you have is shade, then all you have is fill lighting. Move your subject to the edge of the shade and use the open sky as your main light. Then you'll see the catch lights.

    I hope this helps.

    -Pete
     
  5. syphlix

    syphlix TPF Noob!

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    everyone has already given good tips... but yea you can use the on camera flash for catchlights... just dial it way down and you'll get the catchlight without actually affecting the lighting
     
  6. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    True.... but they'll be small, bright and in the wrong position.

    -Pete
     
  7. Photos de l'amour

    Photos de l'amour TPF Noob!

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    What do you mean by dialing it down? I do see that I have about 5 different settings for the flash, would dialing it down be picking the right one out of the choices??
    Also, I have another question....When taking a photo of a family of 7, would the reflector work for catchlights or would it not be a big enough reflection? I have a 42" round reflector.
    One more thing...When I take the photo of a family of 7, what is a good f/stop so that all the faces are in focus but the background is not??
    I took this photo but wish the background was more out of focus and that there was some catchlights. Other than that, what do you think of the photo? I have not done any editing yet.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. TylerF

    TylerF TPF Noob!

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    in my opinion, i could be wrong, catch lights are more for 1 or 2 people. an entire group, not so much. unless the picture is goinf to be printed so large you can see each persons eyes.

    depending on what camera you use, you should have an option to change the power of the built in flash.

    i think for the picture you posted, a flash or 2 and a reflector could have helped drastically. also, watch your background, its a bit busy and distracting. also, the fact that 4 of them are wearing some shade of green, 1 wearing brown and 2 wearing black or very dark green looks a bit odd.
     
  9. aliciaqw

    aliciaqw TPF Noob!

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    Someone linked me to this site when I had questions about settings for group photos. It helped A LOT when deciding what lens to use and what f-stop, etc. Hope that helps!

    Online Depth of Field Calculator
     
  10. Photos de l'amour

    Photos de l'amour TPF Noob!

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    Ok, I have been working on this photo all day! Am I wasting my time??

    I have changed the color of the shirts so they match better and blurred the background. I tried to brighten the eyes a bit and soften the skin. What do you think?
    This is actually me and my family and I took it with a remote shutter. So I know it's not perfect but would like to hang it on my family portrait wall. Do you think it is good enough for that????

    [​IMG]
     
  11. ghpham

    ghpham TPF Noob!

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    Hmm...you seem to suffer from what I go through all the time when taking family pictures. Frankly, the composition is boring because everybody sits in the same line (I do this ALL the time). Perhaps break up into smaller groups, some kids in front your husband and you sitting and some kids in the back forming a triangle. For instance, your boys can kneel in the front, and your girls stand/kneel in the back. You can then use a long lens for tighter crop and the background will be blurred more.
     
  12. g-fi

    g-fi TPF Noob!

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    I actually don't have a problem with the composition, though I agree that it's pretty "typical family portrait". That's not necessarily a bad thing! However, I think that the PP on this is a little bland and flat. This is what I would do with it if it was a picture I took....


    [​IMG]

    But that's just my take. I like a more dramatic PP look.
     

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