Common Photography Questions From Beginners, 13-15
13 Why are my winter outdoor portraits so dull?
It’s a common complaint. You need to get light onto your subject’s face to lighten them up. As sunlight comes from above, people often end up with shadows on their faces, or on an overcast winter’s day or shooting in the shade, there may be hardly any useful light.
The solution is to use a reflector – a pop-up reflective surface that bounces light back onto people’s faces to brighten up portraits. Alternatively, use a little ‘fill flash’ – use your pop-up flash in Aperture or Shutter Priority mode.
14 What time of day is best to photograph buildings?
It’s a question of timing: which direction does the building you want to photograph face, and what time of year is it? Once you know this, you can work out when the sunlight will hit it for the best lighting – The Photographer’s Ephemeris is an excellent free resource for determining this.
Towards the start or end of the day, when the sun is lower in the sky, is often best; this creates longer shadows to add depth and accentuate the shape of the structure.
Sherborne Abbey, in our example shots, faces south, and so is sunlit throughout the day. Even so, shooting at the wrong time can have the sun casting a distracting shadow or ducking behind a cloud, resulting in a lacklustre shot.
Selecting another angle, or waiting for a break in the clouds, can make or break a photo…
15 How do I use Live View on my LCD?
We love using Live View and have been converts since it first appeared. It’s brilliant whenever you’re shooting with a tripod, and we use it without fail when we’re taking still life, macro and landscape photographs – it makes it so easy to frame and focus with total accuracy, as well as getting a ‘live view’, so you can adjust your exposure before you take a shot. Here’s how to get set up for Live View shooting:
To begin Live View shooting, first press the Live View button on the back of your camera, just right of the eye-piece. Make sure you’re switched to stills shooting, and not video.
Use the grid display to aid composition and the digital level for a straight shot, press Info/Disp until these appear. Zoom in/out on your lens and fine-tune your tripod for the best composition.
Place the square over your focal point. Zoom in to x5 or x10 by pressing the magnifying glass button, switch to manual focus (MF) and twist the focus ring until the image is sharp. Zoom out.
You can also read the histogram to check your exposure – press Info/Disp until the graph appears. Use Exposure Compensation to brighten or darken the shot if necessary.