Readers of this blog will know that I often shoot in Margate for Madam Popoff. The bulk of the images are used for her to sell her vintage clothing on Asos Marketplace. Asos Marketplace have fairly strict guidelines for their images. Everything has to be portrait orientation and shot in natural light. Looking through other vendors it is obvious that not everyone sticks to the rules but we always do. I have been asked a number of times about my settings and technique. I either use an 85mm or 70-200mm lens for these shoots. I normally use Aperture priority unless it is very overcast when I use manual. I prefer evaluative or matrix metering and basically ride the exposure compensation up or down. I tend to shoot around f3.2-4.0 - this seems to work best for me. Another little tip is to get your camera down low and shoot up, this makes the model's legs look longer and tends to give a more pleasing image. I also try to avoid harsh light so try to find some shade or sometimes use backlight. You will see the first images below are lit from behind but light is reflected up from the white concrete steps.
Whenever we do one of these shoots it is also good to try and do something a little more creative. The image below is something I have had in my mind for sometime and to be honest is still not quite there. For this shot we effectively needed to overpower the sun, not easy when it was bright and high in the sky. I started by setting the exposure in an attempt to slightly underexpose the background - I ended up around ISO50 160/F16. I used a portable 600ws studio with a beauty dish to provide the fill light onto the model. The 160th second shutter speed is a limiting factor as that is as fast as I can relably synch using the flash unit's buit in wireless trigger. The problem for me was the sun was just a little too bright, our poor model Lucy was freezing as although it was very bright there was a strong, cold sea breeze. This breeze also meant that my assistant Vi had to hang onto the lightstand to stop the whole rig from blowing away. I do like the final image and love the blue against blue but would have liked a more interesting sky.
The other images are just a bit of fun - you will notice that Lucy is now wearing a winter cape in an attempt to keep warm.