Getting awesome 'on the go' photos

Window light.

Window light.

I've been photographing a lot of editorial style photo shoots lately - where I go in with minimal equipment and photograph what is happening. I love these sorts of jobs - where I can concentrate on capturing the moment, rather than creating the big extravaganza set.
 

One light, side on, draws attention to our man.

One light, side on, draws attention to our man.

When indoors, unless I have awesome window light, I set one speed light up on a stand and use that as a side or back light. I have a long-standing dislike of full frontal lighting. Not saying it's wrong - I just prefer more dimension and shadow shape. If I have a white ceiling or wall, I'll bounce it backward with the built-in diffuser up. 

Two lights making an 'oomph'. If the subject allows, you can even let one of the lights creep into frame, adding flare. 

Two lights making an 'oomph'. If the subject allows, you can even let one of the lights creep into frame, adding flare. 

 

 

If the light is really dark, flat and 'yuck', I add a second light. One for the front 3/4 of the face, and one as a hair light. Adds a bit of pop. The hair light emulates sunlight coming through a window or similar. 

 

 

 

A completely black room except for the screens. Two lights sandwiching the guy make it more interesting. 

A completely black room except for the screens. Two lights sandwiching the guy make it more interesting. 

The light can come from anywhere to make an interesting photo. Don't always place people (or products) front on to the light. 

The light can come from anywhere to make an interesting photo. Don't always place people (or products) front on to the light. 

 

 

If window light exists, I'll position my subject near the window, normally side on. I'll play with distance away from the window and subject angle to the window.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stage lighting is dramatic. I would not use flash for stage shots - work with the shadows. 

Stage lighting is dramatic. I would not use flash for stage shots - work with the shadows. 

Always look for moments and get them quick. Dad had leant over to whisper something and the pair were only like this for seconds. 

Always look for moments and get them quick. Dad had leant over to whisper something and the pair were only like this for seconds. 

Outdoors, at an event, I set the camera on shutter priority (for the majority of the time). This way, I can concentrate on what I am seeing. 

I'm always looking. Looking for interesting people, interactions, things I can 'set up'. When I find something, I run around looking at different angles. I'm not afraid to step in front of someone, sneak in front of the stage, run around the back, lean over someone. Just smile and be polite - most times it works out. 

With the strong backlight of sun creeping in behind their heads, the camera would have tried to keep the sun exposed, rendering their faces quite dark. Taking a look at your screen, 'chimping', would tell you if you need to shoot in Manual or not. 

With the strong backlight of sun creeping in behind their heads, the camera would have tried to keep the sun exposed, rendering their faces quite dark. Taking a look at your screen, 'chimping', would tell you if you need to shoot in Manual or not. 

I said 'most times' I put my camera on shutter priority. Shutter priority works when you have the sun side on or front on to the subject. If the sun is behind, then we have problems. If you have something overly dark or light behind, this also causes issues. If I am having trouble with the built-in light meter, I'll revert to Manual. Keep an eye on the sun popping in and out from behind clouds as this can drastically change your settings. I'll have a 'chimp' after every photo sequence just to check it's all looking okay.

So there you have it. There is no single 'right' way to take a photo. A lot of photographers will bang on about Manual being the only way - but it's not. 

If you want to know more about how to get better pics - without the tech jargon - check out my eCourse Better Pics for Business. It'll get you taking better pics with any camera. A new group course is starting in October. 

Member Login
Welcome, (First Name)!

Forgot? Show
Log In
Enter Member Area
My Profile Not a member? Sign up. Log Out