Tuesday, February 3, 2015


Here we are, it's January, in the dead of winter, in Idaho, and we have a session scheduled for a young lady that can only be available on the weekends…and for us that means a Saturday.  We end up canceling three Saturday's in a row for dense overcast, rain, and fog before we finally get the sunny weather I'm looking for about two hours before sunset.

My goal is to make her portraits look like they were taken on a sunny spring day…minus the flowers.  We arrive at the park half an hour early to pick locations like we always do and find the pickings slim. All of our usual spots are dead looking, browns and grays, without any leaves or just gray sticks…and a toasty 41 outside.  I ALWAYS BUILD MY PORTRAITS FROM THE BACKGROUND FORWARD, so in this situation I must look deeper into the back-lit areas for something I can defocus for a nice background.
 f4.5 @ 1/500 sec., ISO 400 Lens @ 200mm

Something like this!  Her background is about 75 yards away and I even have some mid-ground stuff next to and right behind her.  Keeping direct sunlight off her face--the open blue sky is her main light.

f4.5 @ 1/640 sec., ISO 400 Lens @ 200mm

In these next two images we have placed her right in front of a back-lit bush.  It looks like summer! She was a real trouper--you can't tell it's only 40 degrees out there!

f4.5 @ 1/540sec., ISO 400, Lens @ 200mm
In both these images I had her stay exactly in the same spot and then to create a very different background I moved to camera right a couple feet--pointing my camera left to get rid of the bush until I got this dark background with that nice back light.
f4.5 @ 1/640 sec., ISO 400, Lens @ 200mm
Moving again I placed her on a low stump to align her against this background.  I like that the out-of-focus dead things in the background are darker at the top versus the back-lit material directly behind her.

I achieved what I set out to do and everybody loved the images--even our 15 year old model…especially after Kathi did a bunch of facial retouching! 

As usual, if you have questions please don't hesitate to ask…

'Til next week.

Author:  Jerry W. Venz, PPA Certified Master Craftsman
Training site:  http://www.LightAtTheEdge.com

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