First off of a bunch of questions

Started 5 months ago | Discussions thread
Sailor Blue
Sailor Blue Forum Pro • Posts: 15,527
Re: First off of a bunch of questions

The first thing you try to do outdoors is get the subjects in the shade so you don't have that super hard light from the sun on them - you have soft light from the open sky above and in front of them. You then add some light from a flash to fill in the shadows the light from above causes and to give the subjects some highlights and shadows to make the image take on a 3D appearance.

In most cases you will be using ISO 100, the sync shutter speed, and around f/5.6 to f/8 for an ambient light exposure. Unless you are trying to darken the background the flash will add 1/3 to 1/2 stop to the aperture.

If the background is direct sunlight lit it will likely be overexposed since its exposure would be the Sunny 16 exposure (ISO 100, 1/100sec, f/16) out so choosing a shaded background is part of the process of taking the photos.

In most cases all the power needed can come for a GN 60 hot-shoe flash, even when diffused by a 43" to 45" white umbrella. These videos show you just how easy it is.

Joe Brady - Control the Light and Improve Your Photography: Part 1 — Portraiture Using Available Light

Joe Brady - Control the Light and Improve Your Photography: Part 2 — Better Environmental Portraiture

Joe Brady - Blending Flash & Ambient Light for Beautiful Outdoor Portraits

You can do this without a flash meter, which just makes getting the right exposure easier. fotowbert has kindly given us this posts to show you how to get the right % flash outdoors.

DPReview - fotowbert - Percent flash calculation: Studio and Lighting Technique Forum: Digital Photography Review

If the subject must be in direct sunlight you try to put the sun behind them then add enough light to the subject to give you the results you want. You may want the subject to have a little lower exposure than the the background, the same exposure, or a higher exposure. You achieve those results by changing the power of the flash. You can shoot with a hot-shoe flash in this situation but you are limited in what you can do without more power.

Joe Brady - Key Lime Pie - Flash at the Beach

For environmental shooting I recommend light weight, compact, and easy to transport equipment such as this.

Adorma Westcott 5-Section Aluminum Alloy Light Stand 7425

Adorama Westcott Metal Adjustable Shoe Mount Umbrella Bracket 5015

Adorama Westcott 43" White (Collapsible) Satin Umbrella 2011

This is larger and heavier but it puts the flash closer to the umbrella stem so the light from the flash can fill more of the interior of the umbrella and it can be used for softboxes.

Adorama Glow S-Type Speedlite Bracket With Bowens Mount GL-BD-SBRKT

Indoors the white umbrella in reflection mode with the black backing in place will give you light that is very similar to that from a softbox and about the same amount of stray light. This is how I normally use one indoors. If you want to light up the subject's surrounding environment then switch to the shoot through mode and you will get light everywhere.

Outdoors reflection or shoot through doesn't make any difference unless the light is close to a light colored wall.

Softboxes give you a little more even distribution of light than you get from an umbrella but are heavier, larger, and more trouble to transport. I recommend you start with the umbrella above and later, if you want, you can get a softbox. When you do get a softbox be sure to get one with a grid for even better light control. If you do buy a softbox you will may a stronger stand even with your hot-shoe flash, and you would need the Godox S-Type Speedlite Bracket with Bowens Mount for the flash.

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Living and loving it in Pattaya, Thailand. Canon 5DS R & 7D - See the gear list for the rest.

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