...over recent days - in postings about "Learning to take Photos" and "How to take 'Star' Photos" - mrsid & i have highjacked the threads with discussions on learning the basics and keeping it simple Not all will agree, but i believe the best design solutions are simple and direct. This carries over into my photography and achieving "the shot" For beginners, the language of photography is arcane, often complicated, but the principals (despite their fancy jargon) are simple; don't be discouraged by the journalese The situation is not helped by some writers, teachers and instruction manuals complicating matters unnecessarily (and i may well be at fault here, too, at times) with highly convoluted solutions to problems that may be resolved very simply This thread provides an example from "professionals" (a straight forward "bread & butter" portrait for any commercial photographer) with directions that are downright scary! To illustrate the point i've been trying to make with mrsid, i also offer a *simple* method which (imho) will deliver a better result than that shown ... and achievable with nothing more than a manual camera and flash Here's their portrait: ...Copyright - webphotoschool.com/Ben Clay, Ross McCord & Gene Kester Here's the directions from WEB PHOTO SCHOOL http://www.webphotoschool.com/bhphotovideo/Lessons/AngelaOutside[BH]/index.html Webphotoschool.com are to be commended for offering this free Site - but one needs a small sized truck just to carry their required equipment and, technically, the image is weak in my opinion with too much light on the face and unnatural lighting affects on the models hair Here's my solution: 1. Equipment - camera, flash & hand held meter 2. Position model in front of a lemon tree (they make great backdrops to match that shown) with her back to the sun to create rim light affect on hair 3. Take ambient reading off the sun (dome behind models head, aimed at light source) 4. Using the sunny-16 rule and 100 ISO/ASA film, let's say the reading is f-16/125 5. Set aperture on camera to f11/125 - this will overexpose the rim light by +1 stop and create a halo affect as shown (but even better) 6. Set flash on "A" and select f-8 as a fill flash - this will provide a natural looking lighting ratio between the hair and face (use a diffuser dome over flash head, or even just a piece of tissue paper) 7. Compose shot - ensure there is no flare into lens from sun - then shoot 8. For different lighting affects, you might wish to bracket a few more shots Done! If you don't have a flash - simply use a large piece of white cardboard (in-lieu) to reflect light back onto the models face. Meter carefully to achieve the right ratio Some photographers actually prefer reflectors to flash in this situation The choice is yours Have fun! e_ P.S. yep - far too much time of me hands!