Outdoors, Consistant Color Is More Important Than Good Color!

Most of you have seen my video clips on YouTube and have read my articles enough to know that I use reflector outdoors as my main light source for a majority of my images.  I schedule blocks of appts. throughout a morning, afternoon or entire day that way the cost of travel to and from the location is divided between multiple clients and with the higher sales averages of outdoor portraits I have a tidy profit from these sessions.  My light is consistent enough to shoot jpegs outdoors most of the time.  The only time I use Raw is when I am using completely natural light for a main light source.  If you want to know everything about my outdoor portrait photography, today is the last day to get my DVD Outdoor Portrait Photography for $50! It’s the Labor Day Sale and Ends tonight at 11:59 (well I probably won’t be up at 11:59pm so more like tomorrow at 6am)

While I am not advocating playing “fast and loose” with your white balance or producing portraits with poor color, I am saying that you can run automated adjustment on consistent images that have less than perfect color, however if you have inconsistent color throughout a session you must adjust the color of each image to match all the others. Multiply that by 100 if you shoot weddings.

This is the primary reason most experienced photographers learn to control the color of the main light source. Some do it with flash, so use reflectors.  The problem with flash outdoors is you never see the exact lighting effect until you view in on a computer. With a reflector, you feather off the main beam of direct sunlight to achieve a color correct main light source that is consistent throughout the session.   The feathering process is what give you control over the amount of light you are using. Obviously less light is needed working in a shade area that a wide open area with a strong back-light.

Color is so important in portraits outdoor because you have so many colors of light in the average scene if you use only natural light. This is why you see so many portraits on Facebook that have bluish or greenish skin-tones from younger photographers. Many of the color casts can be eliminated by custom white balancing with each scene. The problem becomes when you have bluish light from the open sky as your main-light source and green grass, trees or shrubs reflecting back greenish light for your fill.  The camera can compensate for blue or green, but not for both!  This is the idea of using a low power on camera flash to gently fill the shadow and take out the secondary color, but again flash outdoors isn’t an exact science, even with TTL metering.


~ by jeffsmithbooks on September 6, 2010.

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