As a fashion photographer shooting a lot of stuff outdoors, I often prefer to use the soft light in the shadows. This fashion magazine client of mine often likes to have a white clothing series in their editorials every year. I immediately saw that this could be a cool before and after picture because of the tremendous effect of the reflector. I had taken a few test shots as well as a reading with my Sekonic handheld meter, to get the exposure right so that I would still have some texture in the sky, and a perfect exposure on the models skin and white clothes. The reflector is about 1 meter directly to my left, and we’re both some distance from the model (210mm lens on medium format and a full length picture). I am reading these while on my way to a beach shoot of a family with three boys…only one of them is a teenager.
Whilst the majority of landscape images you see are in full colour, black and white landscape photography can bring real impact and drama to your images. We’re going to look at a few situations where black and white images can be highly effective in producing a shot with real drama.
Even if you’ve got good weather a black and white image can prove a good alternative to colour. I took the shot below in the Lake District, England, it was pretty decent weather, but it’s a good example of the feeling of depth than can be created with a monochrome image. If there’s total cloud cover and no interesting light you may as well leave your camera in the bag and stay at home, right? I took the shot above on a day with awful light, it was flat as a pancake, but I’ve still got a relatively interesting end result.


As well as the main black and white conversion, I’ve added a mild vignette and then burnt a couple of the edges, all processing done in Silver Efex Pro. Below is another example of a shot I captured on a miserable winter day, similar processing style used to add interest and draw the viewer into the image.
Knowing you can still create good images in bad light is a real boost, as you know you can still go out and shoot with purpose whatever the time of year, and whatever the weather may bring. Hopefully these black and white landscape photography tips help illustrate what is possible, no matter what the weather conditions. I normally do all my conversions in Silver Efex Pro, but if you’ve not got that you could manually Dodge and Burn in Photoshop, use the Channel Mixer, or convert in Lightroom and add vignettes if needed. If you liked this feature you can also sign-up to our newsletter to get our latest tips and tutorials delivered direct to your inbox. Tom Eversley is a designer and photographer from Kent, England, and a contributor to Getty Images. SIGN UP TO OUR NEWSLETTERGet the latest photography news, tutorials and showcase series delivered to your inbox. So I asked the editor of the magazine, Mary-Ann – also known as “The Grey Card Lady”, to just tilt the reflector away on one of the shots. By moving the reflector a bit further back like this, we got a nice spread of light on the surroundings close to the model as well. When posing guys, you don’t need to focus as much on finding flattering angles like girls.   In this way, your job can be a lot easier! You want to show them exactly what to do – they need the same amount, if not more direction than girls.


My son is a senior and we have not been happy with his shots, this will be a tremendous help. With an effective black and white conversion you can get fantastic contrast between cloud and sky, which can give your image more depth than a regular colour version.
If you have an image featuring points of interest with some historical heritage, then a monochrome image can really help set the scene. In landscape photography these points of interest could be old buildings, boats, abandoned cars etc. Whilst in Lightroom you could also use the Radial Filter to draw more focus to particular points of interest in your image.
She’s a wonderful lady, and did what I asked without asking why, and then we kept on shooting. We shot a complete editorial quite fast during what usually is considered lunch time; harsh sunlight with lots of shadows. Fortunately we didn’t have a clear blue sky, but we got some clouds that gave us a little bit of texture in the background. The light was so intense that even the professional model had a hard time looking in its direction for too long without short breaks.




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