Posts Tagged ‘sun’

IMG_2615 With all the new portable battery packs such as the Vagabond II and Vagabond Mini from Paul C. Buff and the new Elincrhom Ranger and Quadra, Over Powering the Sun has been all the rage! All everyone seems to care about is if their particular strobe can get rid of the pesky sun. If you’re like me, than you haven’t taken the plunge into powerful studio/location strobes/battery packs and just don’t have that option available. I’d be lying to you if I said I don’t really, truth be told, want one for myself! My pockets are burning just thinking about it. I have, however, resisted the urge thus far and have continued to use my trusty speedlites. Two of which I picked up from Craigslist for $70 dollars or so. Compared to a $600 strobe and $300 battery, I’d say it’s money well spent and if you look at my portfolio online, you’ll find my photos can hang with the big boys who use the $1000 dollar Profoto, Elinchrom and Broncolor lights. There’s nothing wrong with these great professional lights but THE EQUIPMENT DOESN’T MAKE THE PHOTOGRAPHER. If one more person looks at my camera and says, “Wow, If I had that camera I could take awesome pictures”, I’m going to cry.

Tarilyn WeddingHowever, the question still arrives, “how do you deal with the sun and only the power of speedlite flash?” It’s actually quite simple. As the famous quote goes, “If you can’t beat em, join em!” There are ways to simply use the sun but I bet if you’re just starting you’re using the sun incorrectly. Let me guess, you’ve placed you subject in that beautiful direct sunlight with the sun to your back. This is wrong. Unfortunately, in lighting their entire face with sun you are no also forcing your subject to stare directly into this blinding light resulting in squinting. Unless your John Wayne, this isn’t going to be a good look! What you should try to do instead is place the sun behind your subject and use the sunlight as a rim light or hair light. This will also help separate your subject from the background. Secondly find a dark background such as trees or a building to shoot against. This will help your subject pop as well. This technique works with no light at all! You can bring in your battery-powered flash to make your subject pop just a bit more by bringing the ambient light down one stop and lighting your subject to the correct exposure. You are now working with the sun instead of against it to make beautiful portraits no matter where the sun is in the sky, no matter how strong the sun is.