Portraits in direct sunlight.

July 20, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

After a stressful Wednesday, blighted by car problems...basically a convertible roof that wouldn't go back down, and having to ever so gently squeeze my car into my mothers garage overnight, due to the impending storms that were forecast that evening and following morning (yep they never materialsied, thanks Met Office!!!!), it was another day in the sun and an afternoon keeping both my nephews occupied.

As it was another glorious afternoon, it was time to get the 2 boys out into the garden and grab a few snapshots of them both together.

The sun was very bright, so for all these shots I made sure that they were facing away from the sun, with the sun creating a nice little backlight, and using off camera flash to fill in the shadows. Also shooting this way, ensures your subject isn't squinting.

boys1Noah & EliasISO 100 - f/5.0 - 1/250sec - 50mm

For those who have tried, but failed, to shoot family pics in the sun, with the sun behind, it's quite straightforward.

STEP 1, AMBIENT LIGHT METERING - Place camera in either aperture priority or shutter speed priority mode and take a meter reading with your subjects in the shot. I also use evaluative metering. Once you have the meter reading you desire, place the camera in manual mode and dial in the settings. 

STEP 2, OFF CAMERA FLASH METERING - This is where having a light meter is handy, if you don't then it's just about adjusting the off camera flash. Set up your off camera speedlight (in manual mode), start with around half power, and using your light meter take a reading of the flash from under the chin of your subject. The flash power needs to be the same settings as you've dialled in STEP 1. The idea behind using off camera flash in daylight is to eliminate any harsh shadows created by sunlight, and also to fill in these shadows without making it look too much like you've used a speed light. 

STEP 3 - Click away and fire some shots. Doing it this way, and keeping the flash the same settings as your ambient light, you eliminate harsh shadows and also fill in where you tend to get harsh shadows whilst shooting in direct sunlight (round the eyes, cheeks, nose). You also get that fantastic catchlight in the eyes of your subject.

Don't forget that shooting this way, you can also control the ambient light, by changing your aperture settings. To create a more moody ambient background, make your aperture smaller but don't change the power of your speed light. No matter how much you change the aperture, the power of the speed light on your subject will remain the same.

boys2Noah & EliasISO 100 - f/5.0 - 1/250sec - 50mm

boys3Noah & EliasISO 100 - f/5.0 - 1/250sec - 50mm

So get out, while we have our 3 day summer, and get those gorgeous family snaps using the guide above.

 


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