outdoor portrait questions

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Ecas32, Aug 22, 2009.

  1. Ecas32

    Ecas32 TPF Noob!

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    when you shoot portraits outdoors, is it best to use a direct diffused flash or bounced flash off stirafoam for a fill?
    im tryin to decide what i need to get for shooting my couins/ family group
     
  2. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    If it's just fill for a portrait, direct flash is fine. Get it off camera to place the catchlights correctly and you're golden.

    Groups are a little trickier, and generally you want to spread the light a little (silver reflected umbrella, for example), and use cross lighting (flash camera left pointed at those toward the back and right, vice versa on the flash to the right). Search the Strobist blog and forums for more help.
     
  3. Ecas32

    Ecas32 TPF Noob!

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    ok thanks :)

    but i dont think i under stand the cross flashing... so have to lights, one pointintin from the right to left and one pointing from left to right at diagnols?... like an x?
     
  4. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, like an x. The beams of light would cross each other if you drew their paths.

    Oh, and for groups, get up high. Bring a ladder. Just get above them so that you don't have as much of a problem getting everyone's faces in view. And shot a lot. You'll be lucky if you get two where everyone is looking at the camera, smiling, what-have-you. And of course, tallest people in the back.

    If you don't have two lights, you should just take advantage of the sun to light from the front (sun behind the camera), or pick-out some shade.

    If you do have two flashes to use and stands to put them on, then make sure you've got a solid way to trigger them outdoors.
     
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    We just had another post where this same question was asked; that was on the 17th of this month I think. Oudoors, direct, on-axis (ie right in the hot shoe) or "neutral" fill-flash can be used to great effect. There is little or no need to diffuse the flash, and in fact using moderate-powered speedlights like SB 600, Vivitar 285, Canon 580 EX, etc. it is probably best to use the flash straight ahead, undiffused, and use the natural light as direct main light or side-lighting or back-lighting.

    The problem is made worse if your camera has a base ISO of 200,and not 100, or 50; in sunlight, with an ISO 200 base camera, you're at 1/200 second shutter speed and a small f/stop like f/11 or f/16, and you have very little background control at such f/stops. By diffusing the flash's only moderate power using an umbrella or bouncing it, it weakens the fill's amount quite a bit,and the mix of a point light source (ie, the sun) and a diffused, softer fill light looks a bit unnatural many times. Cross-lighting can create double shadows, and that too reads as "unnatural".

    Many beginners feel that they need to use a diffuser to do good outdoor portraiture; most older,more-experienced professionals have many examples in their portfolio of using simple, bare-bulb flash as a beautiful source of fill that "reads" as "sunlight", and looks wonderful. I do not agree that one wants cross-lighting on groups; on-axis fill lighting with a wide-angle flash setting is all you need. Double shadows (one strong from the sunlight, the other weaker, from the fill light) looks amateurish.
     
  6. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    Need, nah, want, sure, as long as you don't muck it up. Agreed about double-shadows; I don't claim to be an expert in this area. :greenpbl:
     
  7. Ecas32

    Ecas32 TPF Noob!

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    ok thanks! i got alot of information from that :)
     
  8. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Here is he same basic question; pay attention to replies 9,10,and 11.
    http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/...-senior-pictures-first-time-using-strobe.html

    Canon's very-own web-based samples on using two remote Canon speedlight units demonstrate absolutely horrible cross-lighting. Absolutely horrible. Your fill light should almost always be as close to the lens-to-subject axis as is possible. Canon's very own demonstrations,and their convoluted lighting ratio nomenclature is a disgrace; Canon itself demonstrates beginner-level cross-lighting on its own 580 EX instruction manual.

    See this web site for an explanation Canon EX Flash System Overview
     
  9. thenikonguy

    thenikonguy TPF Noob!

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