June 15, 2007 at 5:20 am #1003
Ok, my girlfriend wants me to take some pictures of her. We are going to do the session outdoors at a farmers market. I am new to shooting portraits and doing it in color. (I prefer shooting in B&W). I want to make the colors really pop. I will be using a a Canon Powershot A560. Any suggestions for which settings I should use outdoors using natural light and getting the best color?
I want these pics to be special because I am taking the best one and blowing it up to 16″x20″ and having it mounted for her birthday present.June 15, 2007 at 4:39 pm #11568KlahanieParticipant
I don’t take many portraits, but I do know that you want to keep faces out of the sun and use a fill flash if necessary. Just have fun, you’ll get better pics if she is at ease and not pressured to pose. 🙂June 15, 2007 at 7:11 pm #11569
I don’t take many portraits, but I do know that you want to keep faces out of the sun and use a fill flash if necessary. Just have fun, you’ll get better pics if she is at ease and not pressured to pose. 🙂
We will be shooting in the morning on I hope will be a sunny day. So what you are saying is keep the sun to her back or side? Also as I said I am a n00b so I don’t know what a fill flash is, is that the flash on my camera or do I need another external light source?
BTW the pressure is all on me!June 15, 2007 at 8:15 pm #11570
99% of photography is lighting it properly (trivia: Photography literally means “drawing with light”). The trick to shooting in sunlight is dealing with that harshly bright and direct sun, since shadows are too dark for the camera to capture detail in if you’re exposing for the sun.
Unfortunately your camera doesn’t have the ability to sync with off-camera flash, and the built-in flash isn’t nearly powerful enough to compete with the sun (not that you *ever* want to use direct on-camera flash in a serious shot). What you’ll want to do is either shoot with the sun behind the subject backlighting her hair (bonus: You get the wonderful colors of sunset behind her), or shoot with the sun behind you and slightly off to the side. Shooting with the sun at too much of an angle will cause problems because half your subject’s face will be in direct sunlight and the other half will be in deep shadow and it’s IMPOSSIBLE to expose a shot that will make both come out okay.
A large white sheet of posterboard or a mirror can bounce light back into the shadow, but you’ll need someone/thing to hold it in place. The posterboard/mirror approach will also be useful if you’re putting the sun behind her, since you’re exposing for her shadowed face and that can cause the background to be overexposed.
If you have the option, find someplace in the shade with good ambient lighting to shoot. Bounce some light at her to impose some directionality on the light so it’s not all diffuse ambient.
Last tip, since you’re not used to shooting in color, pay very close attention to the color of the light. Shadows tend to pick up the color of the sky, so if you use a sun white balance and try to shoot backlit, her face will come out blue. If your camera has manual white balance, put a white sheet of paper or grey card in front of your subject facing toward the camera and white balance on it before you take the shot. If you want the colors to come out “warmer,” use a slightly blue sheet of paper instead, but be warned that if you’re already somewhere with fairly blue lighting (like a shadow lit by the sky) using a blue card for white balance can cause sunlit areas to appear too orange.June 16, 2007 at 4:52 am #11571
Thank you analogy for your very helpful tips. I will try to implement as much as you have suggested as possible. I might not have the ability to use the posterboard idea since it will only be the two of us on this little session, but if we do use the posterboard I need a little clarifying about it. I need to angle the light into the shadows to balance the light? Is this what you are saying? Also on my camera the white balance seems to be automatic so would the white sheet of paper technique be null and void? Also in sunlight should I open up the exposure or close it in or keep it pretty neutral?
Sorry about all the questions that keep popping up like I said I am a n00b at this and I really do want to make these great for her. She is feeling kind of insecure about herself and want to take pics of her that shows how hot she really is.
Which reminds me she is naturally a redhead so that means really fair skin…will this affect how I want to shoot her in natural light?June 16, 2007 at 8:48 am #11572
Yes, the posterboard is to bounce light into the shadows to make them less harsh.
For white balancing, I’d look at your manual, I’ve done some googling and I’ve seen a few references to manual white balance on the A560. The “sunlight” preset should work if you’re using direct sun as your key light, but if your subject is in the shade you’ll definitely need to manually white balance or color correct in post.
Ooh, a redhead, I’m jealous. =D Fair skin… Well, you’ll have a little higher chance of highlights on the skin blowing out, but if you set your exposure properly it shouldn’t be a problem.June 16, 2007 at 2:22 pm #11573
Thanks again. The shoot is next Saturday morning. I hope we get sunny weather. When I can I will post some of the pics….or at least provide links so that you can see how they came out. Also I got this great idea for next weeks theme…all I have to do is figure out how I am going to set THAT one up…ha ha.June 28, 2007 at 8:06 am #11574
Sadly the photo shoot is off. I broke up with the girl I was going to take pictures of. 🙁June 28, 2007 at 9:57 am #11575
Ouch, sorry to hear that. =(
You still owe us pictures of a curvy redhead though.June 28, 2007 at 4:51 pm #11576
Keep you eyes on the Foobies Forum, Analogy, I’ll do my best to come through.June 28, 2007 at 6:17 pm #11577ElsinoreKeymaster
Damn that sucks, Jakevol2. 🙁
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