Tuesday, May 16, 2017


We love getting our high school seniors outside for their portraits. It’s been a long, hard record breaking, winter here in Idaho, so I was happy to see that by the end of April one of our favorite parks—Merrill Park in Eagle, Idaho—was back to life!  We take a lot of our Eagle High School Seniors to Merrill Park because it has a surprising number of good areas for portraits for such a small park and I love the split rail fences that surround this park. 

So, with our sunset at 8:40pm we had mom and her daughter meet us a the park at 6:30pm—our usual two hours before sunset start time. As is my style when doing pure natural light portraits I keep the setting sun behind my subject to create a nice glow in the background for subject separation and visual interest. The only light I let strike may subject is natural sky light—the sky is my soft box! 

And our cute young lady of this session….
f4.5 @ 1/320 sec., ISO 400; lens @ 182mm
This image was one of the favorites from her session.  It illustrates why I use the most telephoto I can along with a modestly wide aperture. With my lens at or near 200mm I can get a nice soft background even with the f4.5 aperture while still getting nice depth-of-field on my subject. This image was in the last set-up of her session—one hour before sunset.

Earlier in the session…
f4.5 @ 1/400sec., ISO 400; lens @ 200mm
With the sun higher—two hours before sunset—we put her in the shade of the monolithic rocks that march across the back of the park. That kept the harsh sunlight at bay giving her nice, soft, sky light as her main light. 

Then at my favorite split rail fence….
 f4.5 @ 1/320 sec., ISO 400; lens @ 200mm
We started here about an hour and a half before sunset doing several poses. As you can see with proper placement of your subject, using only a large patch of blue sky as the main light, there’s NO need for ANY reflectors and certainly no reason to wreck this beautiful light with the superfluous addition of flash (YUCK!).

Let me know if you have any questions…’Til next week….

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

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