Jul 31, 2014

Shooting in Manual - Outdoor

Hi there photographers!!! I hope that we are starting to get the hang of switching up the settings on our cameras around the house. Remember, it takes time to get quick at it but I promise that you will get faster and be able to change the settings before your kid runs off to the next part of the house!

Since we talked about shooting indoors last time, today we are going to practice shooting in manual outdoors. (If you have a point and shoot, this may not apply much to you but please feel free to practice taking pictures outside to see what your camera can do!) All the settings still change the same way, but now you will typically have much more light than you do indoors. You probably had low shutter speed, low aperture, and high ISO inside. The opposite will be a good starting point for taking pictures outside; high shutter speed, can do a higher aperture if you want, and lower ISO.

Quick Reminder from yesterday:
1.SS- higher makes the picture darker, lower makes the picture brighter, need higher for more movement
2. Aperture- higher makes the picture darker, lower makes the picture brighter
3. ISO- higher makes the picture brighter, lower makes the picture darker

If you are outside, lots of people aim for 'open shade'. This is where you are in the shade (duh!) but you still can get nice light on the people's face and catch light in their eyes. So you can sit towards the edge of the shade under a tree, for example, and still face the sun without squinting or having harsh light then it would likely be a pretty picture. However, probably like your kiddos, mine aren't inclined to play nicely in pretty positions in open shade all the time. So you need to be able to take photos anywhere outside.

Using the same thought process as last time when we discussed indoor photos, let's practice outdoor photos!

1. SS: I usually start around 1/500 depending on the time of day and if I am in the shade or not.
2. Aperture: I still like to use low aperture b/c I like blurry backgrounds. But you can bump this up especially when shooting a lot of people in the frame.
3. ISO: If it is during the bright part of the day I start at 100. If it is towards the end of the day I start at 400 since it will be getting darker the longer I am outside.

Here are some outdoor examples.

1. Thomas playing in the fountains: Definitely not open shade, but this was in the morning around 10am.
ISO 200, F3.5, 1/4000
Low ISO since it was bright outside and high SS since it was bright


2. John at the ballpark. This was open shade since we were in the shaded part of the stadium.
ISO 800, F4.0, 1/640
SS is lower than the previous picture since this wasn't as sunny being that we were in the shade and this was about 6:00 p.m. However, the SS is much higher than when I was taking photos inside since I don't need as much light in my camera when I am outside.

3. Playing at the lake. Not open shade, morning sun.
ISO 200, F4.0, 1/2000
Since it was bright out, high SS helps keep too much light from entering the camera.


4. Boys at the lake: Not open shade, morning sun. However, if the hat were big enough, and we were facing the sun, it could put some shade on Matthew's face and create open shade.
ISO 200, F3.2, 1/1250
Again, lower ISO since we are outside without shade to block the sun, and higher SS to take a faster picture to block out more of the light.

5. Thomas playing during 'golden hour' which is the 2 hours before sunset. You can see how pretty the light is coming through the trees behind him.
 ISO 1600, F4.0, 1/800
He is facing away from the sun so that is why I upped the ISO. I probably could have also lowered the SS to help let more light in the camera instead of upping the ISO.

 6. John and Matthew in the garage. Remember last time I said that you could take pictures the edge of your garage and most of the clutter would be hidden? Here is an example of that! Their faces are lit since they are right at the edge of the garage so they are also in open shade.
ISO 800, F2.2, 1/1000


7. Large family at the beach:
ISO 400, F4.5, 1/500
This one is back lit which is more tricky. I raised the aperture since I have several people in the picture. It was at night so I left the ISO at 400 so I wouldn't forget to change it as it got darker.

A couple notes:
-Taking pictures at noon is not a great idea because that will be harder to do. If possible you might avoid that.
-Taking pictures early in the morning (as the sun is coming up) and at the end of the day (as the sun is setting) will give really pretty light. Those are my favorite times to take pictures (although not always opportune times with little kids and work schedules!) If you are hiring someone to take your family photos, be sure to get those time slots to get the prettiest pictures.
-Since your SS usually will be high, your photos shouldn't be too blurry due to movement. This means that you should be able to catch your kids as they are running and still get a great photo!
-Since I am still pretty new, there are times we are playing outside and it is bright and I can't see my screen very well and I can't seem to get my settings right and, and, and, and....then I just put the camera down and forget about it. Unless it is a birthday party or something important, then it isn't worth the frustration to me. I will just try again later. No big deal!

Time for you to go outside and practice! Practice finding shady spots and sunny spots so you can change up the settings. Try facing your subject towards the sun to get the catch lights in their eyes. Also practice putting the subject several feet away from the background (ie the wall, fence, bushes, etc). This will change the depth of the photo too. Share some of your favorite shots, even if they aren't perfect!

Experienced photographers- feel free to share tips or more info on facebook. Perhaps you can try some new photos outside over the next couple days: new locations, a garage photo shoot, taking a wide angle if you usually use narrow. Maybe take photos of of an activity outside that is usually done inside (ex: bubble bath, eating breakfast). Take a photo of outside nature or pets if you usually take a photo of people. Take a photo of a small toy in random open shade locations (mailbox, anyone?).

Next time we will talk briefly about focus points. See you then!

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