First, I apologize for the lack of Photog Friday posts this month! … weddings, holidays, family – OH MY! I’ll get back on track after the 1st of the year and that means the end of month Photo Exercises will be starting back up as well! If you’re getting a new camera for Christmas you’ll want to tune in in January!
But for this week’s tip I wanted to share a little bit on what I’m learning about – taking pictures at the beach. So far, I’ve done all of the beach session in the late evening just before sunset. But I’m planning on doing my own Family pictures at the beach this week and the morning is the only time we can fit it in. So, that means I need to study up on some techniques for shooting on the beach in bright light instead of the softer evening light. By the time we get there and set up it will probably be about 10am, which means it will be pretty bright! So, let’s talk about what I plan on doing to adjust to the bright conditions.
Fill in with Flash. This is something I have to force myself to do. I tend to shoot only in natural light, mostly because I haven’t practiced much as fill light. And what do I mean by “fill”? Well, just as it implies, the flash fills in the dark shadows that bright sun creates. The flash will lighten your subjects faces so your subject and the background are evenly exposed.
Use Evalutive Metering. Normally my camera is set for spot metering. But in this case I’m exposing for the background so I’m going to use evaluative instead (looks like this, ). This will use the camera’s 35 points and takes a best guess by averaging them to decide on how to expose the shot. This is the “default” setting on most cameras. This is the mode to use when you’re not sure which mode the scene will require – like in my case.
Shoot in M (manual). I don’t shoot in any other mode anymore, so that means every session is practice in M for me … you won’t figure it out if you don’t USE it! Anyway, since I’m using the external flash, that means setting my shutter speed at 1/200. Why? because any faster than 1/250 won’t catch the flash because the shutter will be faster than the light the flash puts out. I plan to expose for the sky &water in the background and let the rest get figured out by the ETTL (or the flash & camera’s communication, E-TTL = Evaluative through the lens). Since I know I’ll be at 1/200, I’ll be adjusting my exposure with aperture. Not comfortable in M yet? That’s ok, use Tv and set your shutter to 1/200 and let the camera figure out the aperture for you.
Now, add a Wild Thing, an impatient daddy, a tripod, and a camera on a timer to my mix … hmm, wish me luck and I’ll let you know how it goes!