Auto Mode and Flash-Off Mode | Transcription

We are going to jump in right from the top. We are going to start with automated modes or what we commonly refer to as green modes. Now, automated modes, you are basically telling the camera that you want it to handle every single thing from the exposure to the aperture, the artistic side, the ISO. Everything is going to be handled by the camera. Automated modes basically they are great as learning tools when you first start out, but the thing is that while the cameras are smart and intelligent, they are not really intelligent enough. I’m going to show up exactly what I mean because we have a fairly complex scene.

To help me out, we have our wonderful couple here. This is Keith and Christine. They are going to help us out for all of these portraiture scenes and we are going to start out basically of shooting a shot. Just basically the standard walk up shot.

Why don’t you guys come out into the sun. This is the first thing I’m going to train you guys not to do. Don’t do the standard walk up shot, where you basically don’t think of anything around you from the lighting to the composition to the posing and everything. We have 50mm cameras or 50mm lenses on both our cameras. What I’m going to do is just go ahead and shoot a shot right here.

Okay. If you notice, the flash popped up. In the first shot, it looks like it fired, and in the second shot it didn’t. The automated mode that we are using right now is the fully greed mode that controls flash as well. Generally, we also have a no flash automated mode too. What is the flash trying to do in this scene? Basically, the camera is seeing a scene that’s very off lit. We have this sidelight coming in from the sun and what the camera is trying to do is use the flash on the camera as a fill light, to fill in these hard shadows that we have on our couples face.

What I’m going to tell you is that with the flash-on modes, don’t use it. The reason why is that we typically want to use flash when we are getting into more advanced flash. When we are using hot shoot flash, we have control over the direction and really much more control over the type of flash that we are getting. That’s when we want to use flash. These on-board flashes are never going to give you that great of a light. Really you are better off sticking the camera in a non-flash automated mode and using the lighting tips we are going to be showing you to get the right shot rather than using the on-board flash. One board flash on these cameras is never really going to look awesome.

Here’s what I’m going to do. We are shooting under this pier for several reasons. One, it’s a great backdrop and basically, we have kind of an unlimited amount of shade and we have very harsh sunlight right now as it’s approaching noon. We get really hard direct light, so this pier allows us to have that shade wherever we need it, but it also gives us a beautiful background. It’s a background that basically repeats and it looks really nice in portraits because it has lines and it has all these things that we want in a background. We want kind of simple repeating backgrounds that can offer lines and so forth that really draw attention to our couple.

What we need to do is place them in a position and get the right light on them. What we are going to do is just use the natural shadow of these pillars. Let’s do our standard V-Up first. The V-Up, if you are interested in learning posing techniques and all this kind of stuff, it’s kind of beyond the scope of this DVD, but check out the Natural Light Couples Portraiture DVD. That’s basically all about lighting and posing couples. We also have posing guides available online as well. Let’s go ahead and get into the V-Up and you guys actually seems like you already know what that is.

What we don’t want to do, what we are trying to avoid here, is we don’t want to get direct sunlight on the silver. You can see that if I bring this up, guys don’t look at this. Close your eyes for a second, it’s going to be really bright. You can see how strong that is. If we want to go for that strong main light then that’s fine, but what we are going for is a very soft lifestyle look. Instead, what I want to do is bring this right underneath and fill. See we are catching direct light so we get that up-lit look. This is where we either need to go from the side or we need to use a white because a silver is going to be too strong.

Let’s see if we can get a nice light. There we go. We are just going to add this nice little fill light right there. We’re covering shade only so, see, this isn’t picking up any direct light, okay. Let’s go ahead and bring that in. We get a beautiful little fill there.

Composition wise, what I want to do is basically use this background kind of as a leading line that comes up into them and then we are going to shoot with them on the right third of the frame. I am going to crop off the top of Keith’s head and it will look totally fine in the image. It’s kind of more about her in this shot. Here’s the thing that I’m already noticing that I don’t really like about this automated mode, is that I don’t have any control of my focus. I can see the focus is landing right on Keith instead of basically over Christine. I can that in the shot. Also, we are getting the flash-up mode.

Let’s go ahead and turn off, we are going to go into flash-off automated mode. You can look at this. We are getting a much much better shot already.

So that’s kind of one of the limitations as far as the automated modes go in this, but we can see still that we are getting a much better photograph than when we started out.


Quick Tip: Take a look at the difference here. This is really crazy. Keep in mind, we are still shooting in completely automated modes and the only thing that Pye has done is set up the couple in a better position for lighting, he added his own fill light and then posed the couple and crafted his composition. Immediately, the shot is so much better than that terrible walk up shot right at the beginning. Remember. You can get fantastic results from you camera without even touching the camera setting. All you really need to do is set up your scene.


Now with the Nikon, again, the great thing is that I do have a little bit of control. I’m going to go with flash-off mode again in this. I do have a little bit of control over my AF area. Okay? I’m just going to ahead and bring that up. In the focus mode I have it on auto, but I’m going to choose a single point AF and that way I can still focus where she is. Yet, if I take this shot, we are going to end up with a much much better and sharper image.

Let’s take a look at the setting though because that’s where really these cameras are both going with very safe options. This is the problem. When you go with automated modes, the cameras are intelligent, yes, but they are going to always err on the safe side. We’re in auto mode. We would be better off shooting in portrait mode, but even in portrait mode we still wouldn’t get the kind of shots that we want.

Both cameras did an okay job with it, but the thing is that I want artistic control. This is where I’m going to flip into manual and we are going to go ahead and dial in our setting based on what I am envisioning for this scene. What I want here is I want the background to fall off into a nice blur quickly because it’s a relatively busy background if we are not blurring it out. It’s a great pattern background, but if we keep it all in focus there is too much there. What I’m going to do is I’m going to go ahead and adjust first my aperture to, let’s go about, you can go to F2, F2.8-ish. I’m going to go ahead and leave it on F2 an then, let’s just bring up live view so we can get an exposure.

Right now, let’s go ahead and leave it bright. I’m going to go ahead and bring up the histogram too so we can see this live view histogram. I’m at 1/640. I went up to 1/1000 and we are still blowing out quite a bit of our highlights. I need to bring it up to about 1/2000th of a second. Right here, the shadows are pushed against the left edge. We’ve retained our highlights and this is about right. This is where we want to be. We’re going to leave it at ISO 100 as well. We are F2, 1/2000, ISO 100. I’m going to turn off my live view now. Then we are going to go for our final shot. Now that I can actually move my AF point, I’m going to move it right over Christine. There we go.


Quick Tip: In comparing these two shots, I have to say, both of them are actually really great photos. Once again, the selection and aperture between these two shots, it really comes down to your own creative vision. In the shot where the aperture is higher we have a little more depth of field, right? For this particular photo, I kind of really do favor Pye’s decision in opening up the aperture. The reason is that the pillars in the background, well they are just a little strong as a compositional element and I feel like they detract a bit from the couple when they are more in focus. When they are bit more out of focus, you can still tell what the background is, but it doesn’t necessarily compete with our subject nearly as much anymore.

You know what? It’s a subjective decision and it’s one that you are going to have to decide on your own. At least, when you are shooting in manual, you certainly can make those decisions all on your own.


With these same settings I’m going to go ahead and shoot a couple other shots. I want to get some different poses, some variation. I might have them leaning up against these poles, but we are going to do the same thing, the same techniques so you can stick around and watch it as we go.







Chapter 7: BONUS

Total Course Run Time: 6H 30M 21S