Thursday, February 11, 2010


I shoot all of my outdoor images with a daylight white balance. Because I shoot in RAW (as you should be doing), the color balance of the images can be tweaked in ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) or Lightroom later if I'm not pleased with what the daylight WB gives me. However, I find that most of the time I like the color. In deep shade when I shoot under an overhang such as the corridor of arches at the Doge's Palace in San Marco Square in Venice, the pictures tend to be a bit bluish. I could choose 'cloudy' WB to eliminate that, but sometimes I like a cool color cast. So, I use daylight WB and then decide how to tweak the color after-the-fact in post processing.

As much as I like using a wide angle lens, it's great to come in tight on the amazing masks and the color that surrounds them. Care must be taken, though, that the depth of field is not too shallow. I don't think out of focus details in these costumed models look good. Therefore, I was using between 400 to 800 ISO in the low light of early morning, and then as it got brighter I was able to shoot the images at 200 to 400. This gave me enough depth of field to keep the important parts of the composition sharp.

Even though I like the golden lighting of sunrise and sunset, overcast conditions produce extremely soft and very flattering light. The contrast is low and the colors turn out to be much more brilliant than you'd expect. It's my favorite type of light for outdoor portraiture of any kind -- kids, animals, families, and costumed models at carnival.

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