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Sunny Photos
Old 05-29-2005, 03:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hello,

I was hoping to pick everyones brains about the following: I'm doing an outdoor session in a weeks time in a very sunny area. I normally do studio work so I'm really out of touch when it comes to the great out-doors. I was wondering which filters would be recommended to get extremely vivid colours (I want the models body to jump out of the photo if possible), as well as, which films would best for such an occassion.

Thanks for the help,

Mike

ps... I forget to mention that I using a medium format camera for the shoot
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Re: Sunny Photos
Old 05-29-2005, 04:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hmm, well I'm not too sure about filters, but as far as films go, Fuji's Velvia is one of the most saturated films out there, but IMO it makes skin tones look too reddish. Kodak's E100VS is, IMO, basically Velvia with better highlight detail (can't remember how it rendered skin tone off the top of my head...). Provia's a good punchy film. However, Agfa's RSXII 100 film is one of the best "punchy color" slide films available, IMO. It, similar to the E100VS, is kinda like a Provia with better highlight detail, from my own testing, and renders skin tones nicely. Actually, comparing the highlight detail with Provia and RSXII, the highlight detail is much noticeably better in the RSXII.

All those were slide films... I'm not sure off the top of my head about negative films. Ironically enough, not too long ago I shot a bunch of test rolls of color neg films, I just haven't looked at the results yet. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img] I could take a look at some of 'em tonight and post here, if you like. I hear Kodak's Ultra Color films are highly saturated and contrasty.

All these films, I believe, are available in medium format.

Hope this helps. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

Sam
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Re: Sunny Photos
Old 05-29-2005, 05:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Oops, almost forgot to mention... I recommend test-driving the films yourself before shooting anything important. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

Sam
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saturation outdoors
Old 05-29-2005, 10:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Its not so much what film you shoot, its HOW you shoot it. I use Velvia regularly when I shoot swimwear outdoors, usually around water - the excess UV near pools and the ocean tend to neutalize the red people are concerned about, but I even do it away from water sometimes, as in the two samples below. If I can't use Velvia, then my film of choice is Provia (it used to be Astia, until Fuji ruined it last year). I had tested several Kodak films (all chromes) at the time and didn't find anything that I liked, except for Provia, which I now use as my all-purpose film (unless the conditions are right for Velvia). If you look at my work on my website, you'll see my look is generally fairly saturated, so I know what you're after (I never shoot neg BTW).

Now when I said its HOW you shooting it, here's what I meant. For greater saturation, try shooiting at the beginning or end of the day when the light color is warm, and if you want to use direct sun, it won't get any more saturated than that. If you have to shoot in the middle of the day (the worst time) try to use a strong flash fill (actually, an overfill) like you see in the fashion and celeb magazines - stop down the lens, use a fast shutter, get the sky and background darker than what looks natural. If you go the other way, the technique that many of us use is to put a silk (a white scrim) above the model, to reduce the shadows, but you probably want to punch in some main light with reflectors or strobe to bring up the intensity, and let you stop down the lens, so again, you can get some saturation on the backgroung.

Two ways to seperate the model from the background are to shoot with as long a telephoto lens as possible (on the 35mm camera, a 300mm lens is ideal, but anywhere from 135mm and higher will be good. You don't say which med format you're using, but on my RZ67, I use at least a 250mm or longer if I can get the speed). By using this lens, and opening up as much as possible (ideally f2.8 on the 35mm) you get very shallow depth of field that makes the model pop out from the background. This is what Andy McFarland does at the beach all the time. Another way is to backlight the model, and use a reflector or flash as the fill light. If you make some effort to pose the model with a dark background behind them, the sun will act like a giant hair light and with the long lens, shallow depth of field, and well-exposed image, you will get your saturation, as in these shots. The one on the left of Jaime Bergman was shot with a 105mm lens on Nikon F100 (film - Velvia), almost wide open at f4, with the sun setting behind her. The blue background is the shadow side of a sand hill. The one on the right of Shann Johnson, was shot with a 300mm at f2.8, also on the Nikon F100, with Astia film. Both were Filled by a large foamcore card covered with silver krinkle foil.



I never use filters other than UV, but to increase your saturation as well, be sure your lens and filters are clean, and don't get any flare on the lens - use a long lens shade and/or black flag to block any possible light from hitting the lens and causing flare, thereby reducing your contrast and saturation. If all else fails, pump up the contrast and saturation in PS. (not done on the above shots).

There's one other little trick. There is an old art saying, and I don't know where it came from, but it goes "warm colors proceed, cool colors recede". Meaning, as you can see in the shot of Jaime on the left, that the warm colors of her skin seem to pop out from the cooler looking background. I've done shoots where we had that almost reveresd for various reasons, where we had a warm (yellow or red) looking background, and the model in blue or green, and while it still looked good, it doens't have the same almost 3-D effect as a warm in front of cool.


Regards,
Andy Pearlman
Andy Pearlman Studio
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Re: saturation outdoors
Old 05-30-2005, 04:54 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the advice!!! Especially you Sam, who always have some kind words for me. I'll keep everything in mind and try it all out.

This'll be my last shoot in Barcelona, for in two weeks I'll be leaving the country to head off to England for a brief visit before heading of to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon.)

I'll try to post the pics once there done and get your feedback.

Again... Thank you
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Re: Sunny Photos
Old 05-30-2005, 04:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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ditto everything andy p. said: damn! he's like an encyclopaedia photographica.

you can also try bouncing some rich, warmed-up sunlight by working a gold reflector into the mix (or a mixed gold-and-silver reflector or shiny board for less warming.) this will probly require some grip equipment or an assistant. (an assistant is preferable cuz then you have someone to yell at when things aren't going according to plan.) you might want to make sure--especially if you're shooting full-body nudes--that you're using a big enough reflector to fill head-to-toe or you'll be seeing some distinct differences in the the skin tones where you filled the model and where your reflector didn't fill.
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Re: saturation outdoors
Old 05-30-2005, 05:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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No problem Mike. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] Glad to see you're busy shooting! All I've been doing lately is film test after film test after film test... ad nauseum. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img] Hopefully I'll get 'em all done soon, and I can actually start taking pictures again. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

Can't wait to see those pics from Saigon. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

Sam
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