Tuesday, November 17, 2015


My personal favorite environment to do portraits of people and their animals is in natural light outside. (And if you’ve read this Blog before—well, yeah, so what’s new about that!)

Yes, Natural Light, I believe, is still the best light money can’t buy! Sometimes I go inside (a little more difficult with horses) and still use natural light.  Then again, I do photograph people and animals in the studio (not horses!) with studio flash when the weather is really bad.  So, you see, I’m not as rigid in my style of photography as some assume! After all , a true professional photographer should be able to excel using ALL types of light.

Starting with my favorite….

Outside — Natural Light:

Being outside not only gives me great light—It gives me more Lens Choices. I can back-off and use my absolute favorite zoom—my 70-200 f2.8 lens—or go wide, placing my subjects in a scenic with my 17-50mm or 24-105mm lenses.

Lens choice equals more creative control!  

f5.6 @ 1/1250 sec., ISO 400 Lens @ 180mm
In the above portrait I caught some fun action, as this gal’s horse nuzzled-in, using my 70-200mm lens. This was in January about 2 hours before sunset—so we were getting a nice warm light.

 f8.0 @ 1/500 sec., ISO 400 Lens @ 32mm
With this portrait I went to the other extreme using my wide zoom at 32mm. We had carefully placed her and her horse at a dynamic entry point into the scene and I’m up on a 6 foot ladder! Why you ask? Well, I’m usually on a ladder doing horses, especially when being ridden, because I don’t want to be doing up angle portraits (from below their noses) of people—not very flattering.

However, in this case, I wanted both my subjects to be placed against that field of green behind them. I did not want their bodies or heads bisected by the horizon line which is the view I was getting when I was on the ground.

 f5.6 @ 1/1000 sec., ISO 400 Lens @ 200mm
For this young man’s portrait with his dog and his car we were again out about 2 hours before sunset on a cool February day. I’m backed way-off with my lens at 200mm, compressing the car and my subjects. With my camera on a tripod, it made it possible to squeak my dog toys, getting the dog’s attention!  It Worked! 

Next week, in Part 2, we’ll go Inside using both natural light and studio flash.

As always, should you have any comments or questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. “Till next week…

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


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