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outdoor portraits camera and lens settings?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by wloneill, Aug 31, 2008.

  1. wloneill


    Jun 6, 2007
    Lexington, KY
    I have been asked to take some outdoor portrait photos. The shots will be taken at around 2:00 PM (I know that is not ideal, but I don't have control). I have a D80 and a Nikon 70-200 f2.8 VR lens. I was wondering what aperture and at what focal length would you shoot these pictures to get the best possible images. It is supposed to be a bright sunny day. I realize that there might be other factors that enter into the decision. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
  2. Seneca


    Dec 4, 2006
    I would use if it were bright outside f13 at 250 sec.
  3. I would look for a shady area. Some fill flash would probably help, too, although that is difficult under bright conditions because of the flash sync speed.
  4. I've just finished reading a book on digital wedding photography and his suggestion for outdoors in sunlight is ttl flash with no compensation , cloudy weather -1 flash compensation , overcast -2 compensation - haven't tried it yet . With the D80 I would suggest NOT using matrix mode because it exposes for shadows and blows out highlights , centre weighted protects highlights .
    Ignore the horrible vignette in this sample , I'm just trying to show what D80 matrix metering does to a backlit subject though it looks fine when frontlit - you don't want them squinting into the sun . As suggested take them into shade or use flash .
    Centre weighted will protect the highlights and flash can sort out the shadows .

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  5. If you have an SB flash of some kind then try to get it off the camera. Make sure the subject's background is quite a good distance behind your subject so that you can get some bokeh to form and isolate the subject some.
  6. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    Which settings will depend on what you are trying to achieve visually with the portrait. Facial features typically look better with longer (100-200 mm) focal lengths, while 'busy' backgrounds can be suppressed with wide apertures (e.g. f/2.8). Environmental portraits, on the other hand, are usually made with wider angle lenses.

    My preference for bright sunny days (which is exactly what I will have to work with on a shoot later today) is to put the subject into open shade and use a reflector or flash to add light.

    Here is an example of a portrait shot at 200 mm with a wide aperture:

  7. wloneill


    Jun 6, 2007
    Lexington, KY
    Thank you

    Thank you for the advice and for the beautiful images. This forum is truly a wonderful place to learn more about photography.
  8. That's a very nice shot and some info worth putting into practice !
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