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Spicy Holiday Photos: How to create gorgeous holiday photographs using a simple mirrorless camera

2/17/2015 Matt 0 Comments

Our friend Michael has an new edition of his magazine and in the last video of this series it was all about awesome photos with your phone ( This time Michael has six tips for you to follow to maximise the potential of your camera. With a little knowledge about how to utilise exposure, lighting, retouching and posing, you can make up for not carrying a big bulky DSLR.

1 – Use A Manual Flash
Being able to control the light will help you to get the picture that you are looking for. Michael likes to pack light when travelling, so his holiday kit consists of a wireless flash and transceiver, a shoot-through umbrella and a compact lightstand. Using these well will create contrast, with a softly lit subject standing out from their surroundings.

2 – Face The Light, Turn Your Body Away
By asking your subject to turn their body away from the light, you will be changing the way in which the light hits their body. Standing straight on can make a subject look flat, whilst a slight angle will highlight the curves of their body in an appealing way. At the same time, turning their face into the light will make for an evenly and shadow-free face in the photograph.

3 – Stick To The Shade
Trying to shoot in direct sunlight removes the element of control which is needed for your photograph. You should look to shoot in shaded areas which still allow for ambient to reach the subject, what is known as ‘open shadow’. Here you will be able to create the optimal conditions, using your flash and umbrella to get the right balance of shadows.

4 – Frame Above The Knee
Whilst you can make this change in the editing stage, you will save a lot of time by framing your shots above the knee. Cropping in this way will make your subject looking natural. If, for whatever reason, you only want to capture the top half of your model, then crop at the ribcage. In both instances, you will be creating a tapered effect which is pleasing to the eye.

5 – Get The Exposure Right
This is where the live-view of mirrorless cameras helps a lot. There is not a lot you can do about lighting your background outside a studio, so underexpose your image and work from there. If you find that the background appears too dark, you can tweak your settings. Some mirrorless camera offer a live histogram that shows you where you are in terms of ambient light. Use your flash to create the right amount of contrast between the subject and the background. Take test images to ensure your image is exposed in the way that you want.

6 – Make Use Of A Prime Lens
A prime lens lets you greatly reduce the depth of field, producing an intimate quality which is perfect for holiday pictures. It allows you to put the subject into focus, highlighted amongst their exotic surroundings. A neutral density filter can help you to get the right amount of exposure if you are using a wide aperture.

7 – (Bonus) Retouch
Despite our best efforts, our photographs do not always turn out the way we want them to and there is no shame in improving them later. Something like the YouCam Perfect App is a great way to subtly enhance your photographs on right on your tablet in a matter of seconds.

Gear used in the video:
Cactus RF60 Wireless Flash:
Cactus Transceiver V6:
Phottix P200 light-stand:
Phottix Varos II BG Umbrella Holder:
Shoot-through umbrella for diffusion

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