Some random things from April and how to shoot backlit subjects.

I always have trouble making blog posts when things start to get busier.  So I just wanted to post a few random pictures from this month. I decided to talk mostly about the first picture I highlighted below.  This was a very difficult situation, as soon as I saw where they were having the ceremony I knew it was going to be a problem.  The sun was very bright outside, almost fully up in the sky.  The ceremony was held under a beach shelter right on the edge of the bright sunlight.  If you have ever tried to photograph something like this before, you might know what would happen.  If you let the camera make the decisions, the couple would be almost completely dark because it’s trying to adjust for the bright background light.

I long ago started shooting on manual, so I would expose for the couple and not the background.  This way the camera’s own adjustments would not cause the subject to come out really dark.  However, there is still a problem.  If you just expose the couple properly, the background would then be completely blown out, it would just be a very bright glow behind the couple.  The couple would have kind of a flat, lifeless light on them with an annoyingly glowing background.

So how do you fix this? Well it really comes down to having the proper equipment.  I have these things called Pocket Wizards, they allow me to have a flash on the camera and also another flash off of the camera that is controlled by radio.  You can control another flash through  the built in infrared in the Nikon flashes, but it never works very well.  The Pocket Wizards work the same way, but they are much more reliable especially in sunlight.  Although you can let the flashes decide how much power they need to put out on their own, under this difficult lighting, I thought manual would be better.  I set my on camera flash (that had a tiny Lumiquest softbox on it) and my external flash both to 1/2 power, that seem to be a pretty good compensation for the outside ambient light without overdoing it.  If you notice in this picture, there is a nice light coming from the side of the couple that makes them look more three dimensional.  You can see some shadows from his hand and her arm, these are not from the sun but are from my external flash.

If this sounds too complicated, to make it more simple.  If you are trying to photograph a backlit subject in the shade, use whatever flash you have available, even just the little one on the camera.  Set your camera to manual and keep taking shots until you see the couple is as bright as they need to be.  I hope you enjoy some of the pictures below.

First kiss - Myrtle Beach State Park
That's a lot of groomsmen

Having fun dancing with dad - Dunes golf and beach club - Myrtle Beach
Leaving wedding with flower pedals being thrown. - Dunes golf and beach club - Myrtle Beach
Getting a kiss - Grande Dunes - Ocean Club
Running towards the camera - Myrtle Beach State Park
Happy little girl sitting on the old tree - Myrtle Beach State Park
Cute family of 5 standing around the old tree - Myrtle Beach State Park
Flowergirls getting ready for wedding. - Grande Dunes - Ocean Club
Lots of color - Grande Dunes - Ocean Club
-Myrtle Beach State Park
Bride and groom sitting in pretty light from the trees - Myrtle Beach State Park
Bride looking at the ocean - Myrtle Beach State Park
Kiss on the cheek - Myrtle Beach State Park
Sparklers -

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