How I Got The Shot

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New feature for my website, How I Got The Shot – borrowed from my Instagram feed (@AnthonyMorganti).

*Click on the image to enlarge

Lifestyle Shooting

There are three main things to consider when shooting outdoor lifestyle portraits. The first is the background. Strive to put your subject in front of a backdrop that is as evenly toned as possible and clean. Also, In most cases, you’d like the backdrop to be as far away as possible from your subject. If the background is too busy, too varied in color and tone and/or too close to your subject. it will distract from your subject. In this image of my son Joe, I have a relatively evenly toned backdrop far behind him.

Secondly you should try to put your subject in soft, even light. Most often, dappled light or harsh light falling on your subject will adversely affect the image. In this image, I placed my son in the shade of a tree.

Finally, unless the backdrop is important to the overall scene, you’d like to make it as blurry as possible. This helps separate your subject from the background making them standout. So, unless the backdrop is important to the scene, you should strive to use as wide an aperture as possible.

For this image I found an acceptable backdrop and placed my son, in front of it, in the shade of a tree. I used a portrait lens with a maximum aperture of F1.2. When shooting at such wide apertures, your depth of field is razor thin so it’s important to nail focus and in almost every instance, you should focus on the eye of your subject. If their eyes are not on the same z-plane, focus on the eye closest the camera.

When shooting existing light portraiture, I spot meter off of my subjects face, take note of the reading then purposely over or under expose the shot. If my subject’s skin is light, like Joe’s is, I’ll overexpose by as much as one (1) stop. The darker my subject’s skin, the less I overexpose and, if my subject has dark brown skin, I’ll still meter off their face but, in their case, I’ll underexpose by one stop or sometimes, a bit more. You need to remember that wherever you meter, your camera is going to try to make that area middle gray. So if you meter on light skin, your camera will automatically, underexpose the shot so you have to compensate by adding exposure. On the other hand, if you meter on dark skin, your camera, trying to render that skin medium gray, will overexpose the shot hence you’ll need to add some negative exposure compensation.

Camera Settings

For this image, I shot in aperture priority mode, spot metering (on his cheek). Single point focus (on his eye).
Fujifilm X-T1 with Fujifilm 56mm F1.2 Lens
Dialed in 1/3 stop of positive exposure compensation which resulted in the following exposure:
1/1800 of a sec, F1.2, iso: 200 at 56mm

If it’s too bright to open all the way to say, F1.2, you may need to use a neutral density filter. In this case, I did not have to.

Processed in Lightroom – Nothing out of the ordinary.


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