Friday, 3 August 2012

Shooting Portraits Outdoors - Fun and Easy

I really like shooting for fun in my spare time, however I do not want to just turn a blind eye on the manual settings, poses and all the small things just because I am shooting for fun. I like staying professional even when I don't have all my equipment and I'm not getting paid. So, here's what I like to carry with me when shooting portraits outdoors.
First of all, let's talk about the equipment:
  • 50mm or 35mm lens would be great to have. Such lenses are small and light. They have wide aperture and will let you shoot in any conditions outside. Not having one of these is a big MISS and selling the one you own is a big FAIL.
  • Light reflector. I am talking about the ones you just fold. These are very useful, cheap and take very little space. Most of them have various layers that you can use while shooting. Get a 43" one.
  • A fellow photographer so you can help each other with the light and keep an eye on the stuff you leave around the place you shoot. (If you can't find one just give me a call and I'll check what I can do)
These 3 pretty much cover our expedition equipment. What's next?
Pick the location and know where you're going. This is very important because photography is, in the first place, about location and timing. And speaking of timing, avoid the hours when the sun is really high. The photos will look flat and your models will have terrible shades under the chin, nose and eyebrows. I like shooting early in the morning. I mean starting with the sunrise or late afternoon - 6pm until dusk (of course in the winter I'd start around 4pm). Remember, the softer the light the better the images.

portraits all rights reservedportraits all rights reserved

portraits all rights reservedportraits all rights reserved
Here's some advice on taking the shots:
  • We are shooting outdoors and our photos should reflect the mood and the season so let's try to make it so.
  • We have plenty of space so let's use it to create a nice atmosphere.
  • Use the light reflector properly to expose the face and shed some light on the dark spots.
  • Choose a nice background where you can really get some great bokeh behind our model.
  • Shoot at F2.8 to get a nice depth of field and sharpness on the area of focus. I'd always shift between F2.8 and F4 to get the results of bokeh and sharpness that I need. All prime lenses work great in this range so keep the numbers somewhere in between.
A few final words on the matter:
Don't mind the clouds. If on a summer day you have clouds passing by in front of the sun, they will act as a natural soft box and you'll get nice results with a minimum effort.
For some info on how to pick the lens for you click here.
Check out my favourite backgrounds by clicking here!

Nothing better than a walk with your camera and a nice girl ready to smile for the picture!

All the best,

Kamen Kunchev

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