Outdoor Portraits—Raeford NC Style

strobist photography, Raeford NC, Guy Sagi, Dacion Smith,

Studio work is fun and fulfilling, but nothing compares to outdoor photography. The challenge is balancing strobes with sunlight to pull the subject out—but then I consider math my friend.

In this case, the couple wanted outdoor photos. Unfortunately, a cloudless sky at about 3 in the afternoon presented a challenge. Even my bare-bulb Bolt VB-22 flash finds overpowering the sun a formidable task, unless it’s close enough to risk third-degree burns.

Stretching out the awning on the east side of the house provided the answer, and with the pond and walkway creating a “relaxing around the patio” atmosphere, I caught this moment. In a few months here in Raeford, NC, it’ll be downright uncomfortable in the daytime, so I’m glad we got it done this month.

Hint: Get outside now to take those family pix and turn on the flash. It can help a lot, even in landscapes. Take a look at what it did for these old graveyard tombstones near Raeford and at North Carolina's Pisgah Covered Bridge.

For technical geeks, the Bolt was cranked up to 1/4 power on a stand to the left side, resting at about the same elevation as they were. To the right and snooted (to minimize light scatter and maintain the ‘early evening’ look) I had a Canon 580 EXII cranked all the way up. Both were triggered from my camera using PocketWizards.

In post processing the background was darkened, but barely. The setup pretty much did all the work. Shutter speed was 200 to minimize ambient light's invasion.

If the sun were setting, I could have opened the lens enough for some bokeh on the pond’s rocks, but I sort of like that bit of detail in the background. It comes across as a couple done with work for the day, happy to be back together for the evening and ready to light the BBQ.

I’ve been wrong before, though. So, let me know what you think by posting a comment or two.