Shooting portraits on-location can give you terrific results. If the light is right things are a snap, but what happens when we have less than ideal conditions? With a bit of knowledge, and the right tools, you can even shoot outside at almost any time of day. A few months ago I was faced with a challenge. I needed to shoot a portrait using soft light the harsh desert light at mid-day. The light was absolutely horrible. Here’s how I tackled the issues.
Step One: Control the Ambient Light.
The first thing I do when shooting on-location is to control the ambient light as much as possible. In this scenario I was shooting in an area with no shade at all. I set up a large translucent umbrella to shade my model. This softened the light and also took my exposure on the model down by about one stop. You can see in this photo that my model is in shade but the background is still in the sun.
I used my light meter to find the correct exposure for the background. In my test shot you can see that the background is exposed properly but my model is underexposed. An underexposed model means I would be able to use my flash to shape the light hitting her. This was shot at ISO 100, 1/200 @ f/11. Read More