Working With What You Have

I went in close here to get the expression on her face better. I shot this using a shallow depth of field to really bring the focus on her eyes. A reflector at camera right throws some light into her eyes and creates some nice catchlights.
Backed off some more for this one. Emma wore a hot pink sweatshirt, which really popped in the fog. Thought the burst of color was perfect in the flat light.
The fog created such a nice background, it was almost like shooting on a cyc wall in a studio.

So this past Saturday, while celebrating my birthday, I decided to photograph my son and daughter, along with a friend of ours.  The day was sunny, the sky was blue, and I planned to leave at the perfect time to get some later afternoon sun at Barnegat Lighthouse.

By the time we got there, however, a thick fog had rolled in, making the light somewhat flat, and obscuring the backgrounds. So I changed my plan a little bit.  The fog suddenly became an excellent background, and the soft, even lighting suited itself well to a different style of portraiture than I had originally intended.

Using my 5D Mark II, and my EF 85mm f/1.2L II lens, I decided to use the shallow depth of field that lens is capable of and just grab a few shots with a simple look to them. I used a reflector at camera-right to kick light into my subjects’ eyes, and create
those nice catch lights.

This kind of thing is a common problem with location portraiture. You can never count on the light. I didn’t plan this shoot, or I might have used wireless speedlites to create the light I wanted. But being flexible in your plans, with the ability to use different styles, gives you the ability to make pictures no matter the light.  That’s what separates the pros from the wannabes.

While I didn't use the fog background here, the soft light made it easy to get some nice even lighting and wait for a great smile.


One thought on “Working With What You Have

  1. Big Ganga Photography July 1, 2013 / 9:37 AM

    Totally agree with the sentiment of this post. Adaptability is key.


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