People ask me what my settings are for my photos all the time, the truth is settings DO NOT matter. You can achieve a well exposed image with several settings. Think about the exposure triangle like a Rubik’s cube (kinda) you can rotate one row but then you gotta spin another row to get the colors to line back up. I am not going to ramble about fstop increments but I am going to write a little about how I work through a shoot. All of these images were taken on the same shoot at the Wort Worth Botanical Gardens in Texas. A lovely Sunday afternoon over the coarse of a two hour block of time.
When making decisions about how to start an image I ask myself a few questions.
- How much ambient light do I want in my image?
- What focal length do I want?
- How much depth of field do I want?
- What type of light? Hard or soft?
- What compliments the persons look?
I typically look for colors and shapes first to put my subject in, then I start down the rabbit hole of how do I want the image to look. I take a test shot then start working towards what I visualized in my head. I love rich colors and I do not love spending a ton of time editing in photoshop so I learned off camera flash (OCF). I found that if I just added a pop of light or in some cases a ton of light I could spent way less time editing images. I do try to start off with natural light and a wide open aperture for the oh so dreamy bokeh look, but I quickly revert back to dark images with harsh lighting and saturated color. The ol trusty speed light usually 1/2 power and a aperture of f16 :} the sweet spot for everything in focus and harsh light with saturated color right out of the camera. My happy place.
Recognize the red tree in the background? I started here on the rock then it was like a moth to a flame, all I could think about was how to fill the image with the red leaves and have nothing else visible. Like I said earlier a rabbit hole of thought. The What if question comes up a lot.
SEE, I do use natural light sometimes. 2.0 BOKEH. I also use my title shift lens sometimes, its not super easy to focus because I am spoiled with auto focus typically. The tilt shift is also not a very good portrait lens if you plan on extreme tilt or shift or both. It worked here for eliminating some unwanted fence in the backgound so I kept a few.
I can not tell you how many times during this shot I said she looked just like my daughter. No, this is not my kiddo even though she looks like she could be.