The Importance of Understanding Outdoor Photography

Years ago, before the age of digital photography, most photographers started our learning, whether through schooling or working with another photographer, in the studio.  The studio was a good place to learn.  It has dark so you could see the effects of the lighting, once the lighting was set up it didn’t change and by using the modeling lights with reflectors for fill, the lighting effect you saw, was the lighting effect you got.  Background and scene selection came down to what you had or could make due with.

In today’s world, many photographers start and finish their careers outdoors, with little studio training and in many cases little training at all.  This becomes too overwhelming.  In the studio you have a set number of variables that once you master you can produce a salable portrait.  Outdoors, the variables are endless and then,  when you finally start to get the lighting effect you want,  the light will change.  This is way to much for a student photographer to take in without direction and why so many students never get to the point of being a professional.

While I can’t teach you outdoor photography in this one blog, you can read my other blog posts for the way I work outdoors.  I also have DVD’s on Outdoor Portraiture  Click Here!   I am doing a workshop for those of you in CA. in my Home Town of Fresno, at Woodward Park   http://www.jeffsmithphoto.com/outdoorseminar

Some suggestions I can make here, first of all get your lighting under control.  You can’t rely on a on camera flash to do your thinking for you, not to mention an on camera flash is not a professional light source (excepted at weddings, not in portraiture and there is a difference)  Most of my images were created using a single large reflector as my main light source.  What you see is what you get, it is completely controllable and the color temperature of reflected sunlight takes hours to change.  Also, find a small area in your favorite park and turn that small area into your outdoor studio.  Learn every spot in that area that you can use in different times of day.  Photographers wonder around, going over the hill and down the trail thinking they will discover the perfect place.  Hell at the average park, most places can be made perfect if you know what you are doing.  Professional photographers worry about the “what”, which is find the first nice spot you come to and get the job done (which is creating beautiful images for your client)  students worry about “what else” and they are so unfocused by all the choices they rarely produce as good of work as they could if they simplified the process and became familiar with one small area!

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~ by jeffsmithbooks on April 15, 2012.

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