Portraiture under natural sun lighting

If I can shoot this kind of portraiture every time under natural lighting then I would probably be the happiest man in this world! Photographing people under the sun is a tough job especially in candid shooting when the object person do not pose or stand in the location according to your composition or the direction of sunlight. Sunlight do not always do you a favour in this case. Most of the time the persons you are shooting are backlit with sunlight shining on their back, unless they are happy to look into the sunlight in front of them. In this case, you always need an artificial fill flash light from your camera to capture an evenly lit up portraiture, or else your portraiture would be either under exposed or too contrasty. However, flash lighting did at the same time, add an artificial studio lighting feel to your portraiture.

Chloe at pool

Photo: Chloe having fun in swimming pool.

Nikon D7000 and Nikkor 18-105mm

Shutter Speed 1/100s / Aperture f5.6 / Focal length 105mm / ISO 100 / +1EV.

In order to capture a good backlit portraiture without introducing artificial flash lighting, you need 2 external natural elements, one from the back and the other in front of the person. This photo of Chloe is a good example. First element is the sunlight reflection from the pool behind which is strong and harsh. It fooled any DSLR’s metering system to produce an under exposed shot. Secondly, the pool side made from pebble washed stones act as a natural reflector in front to reflect some of the sunlight on to Chloe’s face.

With these 2 elements combined, and by dialing up your DSLR’s Exposure Compensation to +1EV full stop to counter the camera’s metering mistake, there is a good chance for you to capture a decent portraiture that looks natural in both lighting and colours. 🙂 – Cecil Lee Photography

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