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Backdrops, Backgrounds, and Landscapes…

How do you get them so perfect all the time?

Lets first talk about the scene… You are outside on a sunny day and you don’t have anything but your camera which is NOT equipped with a flash. There is a really cool car that you want to photograph but the sky is really looking good too… How do you get them both to look good?

Let’s dive in… Setting the subject of the photo (the car) aside for a minute, let’s talk about the background. Essentially we are capturing a landscape so the first thing we do is check our internal meter and take an image of the evenly exposed sky. This looks good but I like to drop the exposure of the sky by a stop or two so that the blue is really blue and the clouds are defined then I take another shot. Now that I have my settings right for the sky I compose the image with the car in the scene and begin to get to work making subtle adjustments until I have everything how I like it.

The settings… For outside in the middle of the day with some cloud cover but having the sun NOT OBSCURED by any clouds I start with an ISO of 100 every time almost. Then I decide on the depth of the image. To capture the whole car in focus I will use a 7 or even a 16 f-stop (remember the f-stop changed the depth and blurs the background for you). Then I begin to make subtle changes to the shutter until the sky looks good, and the car on the darkest side, still has enough exposure to see the details. If I need more light I will find something to use as a reflector (a white t-shirt works great).

I am always in Manual Mode unless there is a high amount of pressure to capture images in a short amount of time, then I use the Program, Aperture Priority, and other modes for time (more on those in another blog).

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