Outdoor portrait photography made easy: tips for pro-quality results

    | Photography Tips | Portraits | 03/09/2012 11:00am

    How to set up and use your flash outside


    Balancing the exposure

    Most automatic TTL (through the lens) systems will try to balance the flash exposure with the ambient light automatically, although you can often adjust the flash exposure using your camera’s flash exposure compensation feature.

    If the subject is too bright, you need to set flash exposure compensation to -1; if it’s too dark try +1.

    The only thing to remember is that there is usually a maximum shutter speed that will work with flash (usually around 1/200 sec), so don’t set the shutter speed any faster than this if you’re shooting in Shutter Priority or Manual exposure mode.

    Master using flash with manual shooting mode to balance with ambient light - adjust the flash

    How to set the exposure in Manual
    Using manual exposure and manual flash may seem like a black art to some, but getting it right is just a case of changing one setting at a time, and in the right order.

    With your camera set to Manual and the lowest ISO, first you need to set your camera for the ambient light.

    In bright conditions, choose the fastest shutter speed that your camera can use with flash (usually 1/200 sec), then adjust the aperture to give your shot a slightly under-exposed background. Take a test shot.

    With the aperture now set, you can adjust the power and position of the flash. Most manual flashguns will have a dial or digital readout to indicate what distance will give the correct exposure at each aperture and power setting.

    Using this information, you should manually select a power setting that gives a distance suitable for your subject and framing, which will usually be between full to 1/4 power in bright conditions.

    Position your flash at the distance indicated from the subject and take a test shot. If the subject is too bright, either move the flashgun a little further away or use a lower power setting. If it’s too dark, move the flash closer or increase the power.

    PAGE 1: Outdoor portrait photography overview
    PAGE 2: Master the basics of outdoor portrait photography
    PAGE 3: How to make the most of natural light
    PAGE 4: Master depth of field in outdoor portraits
    PAGE 5: The best lenses for outdoor portrait photography
    PAGE 6: Using telephoto lenses for outdoor portraits
    PAGE 7: Using wideangle lenses for outdoor portraits
    PAGE 8: Essential flash techniques for outdoor portrait photography
    PAGE 9: How to set up and use your flash outside
    PAGE 10: Easy flash techniques and ways to fire your flashgun


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    Posted on Monday, September 3rd, 2012 at 11:00 am under Photography Tips, Portraits.

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