Baby bump photo shoot aside, when ya gotta go, ya gotta go… So why not snap a picture of it?
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You know, you don’t have to have a studio to get good, legitimate shots BUT, it helps if you don’t do your sessions at high noon. SMH.
When is the best time to take outdoor shots?
early morning, late evening… depends on where you live and what your conditions are. But noon is never good, anywhere, because there will be shadows.
Actually, you have MORE shadowing in the morning and evening – but they are a softer shadow. With the sun overhead, you have very little shadowing – the problem is one of contrast. With a high sun, youhave high contrast, and usually end up with either blown out highlights, or dead black shadows, depending on your preference and needs. The light in the morning and evening is far less contrasty – but because the angle of the sun is lower, the shadows are much longer. This however, creates some interesting effects in landscapes and architectural shots, and is preferred (should I say almost necessary) for any kind of portraiture work.
In one book I read – I believe it was Understanding Exposure – the author states that he doesn’t believe in shooting outdoors on sunny days between the hours of 11am and 3pm. As I think he’s in CA it probably makes sense to have such a generous window.
When it’s sunny, the light at high noon is just brutal, it’s at its peak, people are squinting, you get punchy hard-edged black shadows and bleached-out whites. Golden hour, essentially the first and last hours of the sunlight, is the softest light.
My bf goes to extremes. He loves to shoot wildlife and will get up at 3 am to go and stake out an area, though not much will actually be happening til around 5 or 6 am! Then if the light stays good he’ll stay til 10 am or thereabouts. Whereas he’s a bigger fan of shooting in the wee hours, I prefer to shoot later in the day.
If it’s overcast, you can get better light for a longer period because the clouds/haze will diffuse the light ad make it appear softer.
If we go outdoors in the summer, it’s 7-9 in the morning and 5-7 in the evening (when there’s a lot of sun). Without a bunch of lighting to drag along, just shooting with a speedlite. You can do other times, but it’s best to find super shady spots, and use a flash system.
If it’s cloudy, pretty much anytime works. Just depends on how cloudy and how thick the layer is.
Absolutely, positively stay away from 11-3. It just looks like ass, no matter how good you are at utilizing a speedlite. Unless you love editing sweat beads and stains. It’s just not a flattering time.
The problem with cloudy days – especially a heavy overcast, is a LACK of contrast. Everything is deadpan – no highlights, no shadows, no details. It can work for certain types of shots, but I don’t like it for portraiture . . . . it’s just TOO flat.
One thing that should be mentioned here is that on overcast days it doesn’t matter what time you shoot.. the sun will not be harsh. Just be mindful of the sky because it’s going to be white no matter what you do other than using colored filters. And the reason you don’t shoot at high noon isn’t because of the shadows it’s because of the washout from the intense bright light. Another way to deal with this is to up your ISO.. with extremely bright light the lower your ISO the more washout you are going to get. And if you have to shoot in these conditions use a polarizer and a UV filter, that will help keep the colors true and cut down on the washout. Another thing would be to position your model so the sun isn’t hitting them directly in the face.. no one likes squinty eyes on a washed out face. This is all stuff they teach you in high school photography guys.
Heya Heather, 1980 called, they want their colored filters back. Sounds like you’re talking b/w film and old lenses (nttawwt 🙂
This commentary really belongs in the other recent shot (under Creative Editing), “The Sun Was Out”.
The reason I don’t shoot people at high noon on a cloudless day is indeed because of the shadows. Not just harsh shadows, but poorly placed shadows. They just don’t look good on faces, with the cheeks and noses overexposed and the eyes and mouth underexposed, with hair shadows all across the forehead.
I haven’t tested changing ISOs to avoid wrap/washout on the edges and hair. Normally, I just use a scrim or fill flash to avoid many of the issues. I’ve also been known to use high speed flash and let the sun be my fill flash.
IMHO, stacking any filters with a polarizer is probably a mistake and it’ll manifest in reduced image quality (more elements in front of the sensor) and vignetting on wider angles. Most wrap is polarized (although not always consistently), but you can adjust your CPL to reduce it significantly.
Wow.. really? That’s pretty funny.. cause I have had to shoot at bad times because of time constraints with my clients and I have never had to use a fill flash or had any problems with washout using filters and my ISO. Yes, all of the things you say can happen.. if you don’t know what you are doing. Funny you would say that filters are so 80’s considering most digital camera’s now have them built in.. it’s a push of the button instead of a piece of glass. Oh and how about the fact that if you walk into any camera store there is a wall of filters for sale.. hmmm.. maybe because people still use them. Novel concept sell something people buy and use. The fact of the matter is you don’t need all those fancy toys to take good pictures.. it’s a total waste of money. I have been in photography for 20 years.. I shoot for a local venue in my city.. I also went to college and studied photography. I think I know a little something about it.. so please don’t try to make people look stupid when you don’t know anything about them or their work. Filters are completely acceptable and a lot less expensive than your flash.. and if you have never played with your ISO in situations like that I question you’re abilities as a photographer because that is something that is completely basic.
A degree in photography does not a photographer make. You either have talent or you don’t, and no amount of filters or other gadgets will ever help. If you are booked to say, shoot a wedding, and your time constraints dictate you to be outdoors and at 2 in the afternoon, you work with what you have. But there should never, ever be an excuse for CHOOSING to be outdoors at that time on purpose with a camera and the sun is out. I don’t care how much you tamper your ISO settings at noon when it’s 100 degrees, the shot will not be as good if you take the same shot at 5. Tweak your manual settings all you like, but this is common sense. Filters are a rather antiquated and outdated way to shoot when everything you can gain with a filter can be added in post-production work. In fact, I would challenge you to tell us what it is you think a filter can do that correct settings in-camera and post work can’t do, since, you know, there’s that degree and 20 years working for ya?
Good lord, this is turning into a discussion usually seen only on dpchallenge! I have some filters, including a polarizer and an ND-8, and I have a pro flash (SB-910). So far I have yet to encounter a situation where I will use the filters and flash in combination. And though Nikon’s ISO performance is nothing to set off fireworks about, I’m not afraid to jack it to get the detail in the shadows…just means a bleached-out bg, though, and sometimes NR later :-/
Also, Heather…uhm if your clients are on a time frame and MUST be shot during the dirty hours of high sun? Ever heard of something called shade? Usually cast by trees, buildings etc? Eh wala, clients get shot outdoors without squinting and getting awful shadows/lines everywhere not to mention very contrasty whites and blacks. Just sayin….
Sorry, Heather, not trying to pick a fight. I was just teasing you. Ease up.
I can think of exactly two filters that do anything for digital cameras. ND filters (or GND), and polarizing filters. Anything else is not technically necessary or bizarrely esoteric and not in common use, like hydrogen alpha or star or something. All standard colored filters can be replicated, generally better and without losing stops of light, in post processing. The disadvantages of visible light colored filters generally outweigh the advantages by a lot.
As you said, there are filters in-camera such as UV and IR. So why would you recommend stacking a UV on top of a CPL? As someone who’s been doing this for as long as you, you should know that adding more and more glass causes more and more loss of detail and is more prone to haze and flare. I do advocate using a UV filter, but that’s because I want the weather sealing on my canon L glass, and don’t want to worry so much about scratching it when the front gets covered in dust.
My only point was that colored filters are rarely used on digital cameras today, except by people who have been shooting since the 80’s or are still shooting film. It wasn’t to harshly pick on you — just a friendly poke to someone who’s obviously been doing this a while — who else uses colored filters? 🙂
The worst of it is that they edited IN LIGHTROOM and it still looks like that. My heart is sad.
Adobe will not make you a photographer. All the fancy gadgets in the world won’t help you if you do not first learn how and when to put a camera up to your eye.
What a terrible pose though. It looks like he is “going” like you said…or looking at the ground depressed and thinking “what have I gotten myself into?” Not to mention everything else wrong with it.
…And thanks YANAP for posting several pics at once! Can’t get enough of them!
Trying to figure out what that wispy white line is that is running in front of her face. Looks like smoke. Light is WAY to harsh. Not very well composed at all……..yikes.
blurred out watermark would be my guess…
I was wondering about the weird blur line across her face too.
Ooooh…. is that were the watermark was?
Ok, dude, I knows there is a drought, but cant you wait until the picture is done before you go out and water?
Bahahahaha! That’s awesome.
Also, as a former sports photographer, I really hate when shooters remove limbs from people. The poor girl is cut off at the knees.
Eric Cartman fauxtography directions (Faith+One), “standing in random place and look away like you don’t care”
Ain’t that a pisser? I guess when the moment’s right, make your thoughts on the fauxtog known
Oh and just because I can…I once dated a photography major. We ended up on a shooting date, we both shot film. I shot 3 rolls, 2 of ISO 200 24 exposures and the third of ISO 400 24 exposures slide film. I got some killer shots, considering I *didn’t know what I was doing* at the time. He shot maybe three shots. I never saw any of them.
A million years later, the man who is now my bf dropped out of highschool at age 16 and apprenticed to an actual, working photog, with a viable business and a studio, for 3 years. At age 20 my bf was happily shooting weddings on his own. On film. So, Heather, can you top that?
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