Direct Sunlight

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by julie32, Jun 25, 2007.

  1. julie32

    julie32 TPF Noob!

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    Hi. i'm new here and just starting out. What is the best angle to photograph a person in direct sunlight. I can't seem to get it right. I have a 20D and a 580EX flash.
    Also, can anyone recommend a decent fisheye lens for a beginner?

    Thanks!
    jules
     
  2. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    If you want to use the sun as the main light you can place them so that the sun is striking them at about a 45 degree angle, and then set the flash (fill light, so near the camera) power so that the shadows are about 1 stop darker than the sunlit side. You'll probably need to set flash power manually as ETTL will be easily fooled by bright backgrounds.

    If I really have to pose people in direct sunlight (I'd much rather find some shade), I orient them so the sun is at their back, and they are looking into as dark an area as possible. If they have to look anywhere bright their eyes are going to be all squinty. Then I set the flash (either at the camera, or off camera about 45 degrees) manually to the exposure I want.

    To determine what flash power I need I usually just take a test shot if using a DSLR. Otherwise I use a flash meter, or do the math, flash guide number / distance to subject = f/# for 'normal' exposure, and then adjust as necessary.
     
  3. julie32

    julie32 TPF Noob!

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    This is VERY helpful for me. Thank you Matt.
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the forum.

    Matt has answered that very well...so as for the fish eye, most fish eye lenses are made for 35mm film, so when used on a camera like the 20D, the image is cropped and the effect is mostly lost. One lens I know of is the Sigma 8mm. Is is designed for cameras like yours and should give you a nice fish eye effect.
     
  5. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Some more to consider...

    It's really a matter of when not so much how, in other words before the sun rises above 45 degrees. The lower the sun the more golden the color it gives off due to the filtering of the atmosphere which is also a good thing to know. You will hear from time to time about the "Golden Hour", this is the hour surrounding sunrise and sunset. (sometimes you only get 5 minutes of really great light and sometimes not even that)

    If you are in that 90 degree arc between the 45 degree marks you would be happier looking for shade and using reflectors. (be sure to adjust the white balance)

    And finally, if you use any direct light above 45 degrees (even that's too much for my tastes) you are going to get very strong shadows under the eye brows and noise and chin- fine for a Frankenstein movie but not for someone you like!

    HTH

    mike
     
  6. elsaspet

    elsaspet TPF Noob!

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    Always try to avoid direct sunlight if possible. Cloudy days, and the first and last hours of sunlight are your best friend if you must use direct light.
    Find overhangs, trees, or even use a big reflector to block it.
    When using the above advice, always look for west facing areas. It's the prettiest in my opinion.
    Good luck!
     
  7. julie32

    julie32 TPF Noob!

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    thanks Mike!
     
  8. julie32

    julie32 TPF Noob!

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    the frankenstein thing is hysterical mike. thanks for the great advice, helps me a lot.
     

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