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Permanent Tourist

A personal website by Mark Howells-Mead

Open air studio

The set of photos I took in Bern at the weekend were a good exercise in studio photography… without the studio. The shot I posted of Jo (and the set from whence it came) were all shot indoors, in the studio area I have set aside at home.

After trying out the lighting technique I mentioned yesterday, of a large diffused light source right above the subject, I wanted to apply the technique to an outdoor location. When we set up the shots under cover in Interlaken (but outside), the first problem was that there were no suitably white walls to hand. If you ever find yourself in this situation, there’s an easy solution: simply expose your shot for the person you’re photographing and then over-expose the background of the shot by at least three stops.

I achieved this by setting the flash illuminating St├ęphanie at 1/8 power, then setting the flash on the background three times brighter. The principle is the same as over-exposing a shot using normal daylight: the brighter the picture, the whiter the shot becomes. As you can see in this example (compare it with the previous blog post, where Jo was photographed in the studio), the effect is the same outdoors as indoors. The only difference in these examples was that I needed a little more power outside, as the concrete wall was darker than the background material I have in my studio.