I call the sun my outdoor studio because it offers unlimited backgrounds, unlimited lighting patterns and near unlimited possibilities! I love it! This article will show you a great way to get the high key studio look using the sun as your light source.
The tools needed:
- A camera which allows you to manually control your exposure settings (aperture and shutter speed).
- An incident light meter (I suggest the Polaris SPD100 meter because it handles most all types of metering and at $159.00 it also is the cheapest!)
- 2 Diffusion panels (Consider building a home made panel which can be made for under 20 dollars from white ripstop nylon and pvc pipe frames). See the studiolighting.net article, What’s a diffusion panel.
- Plenty of sun!
How to create the high key image outdoors:
- Set up a white diffuser or diffusion panel behind your subject like a backdrop. (Make sure the sun is behind diffuser but not necessarily low in the sky)
- Set up a second diffuser above your subject.
- Take a meter reading of the subject while he/she is within the created tent by setting your meter to around 1/125 second and holding your meter just under your subject’s chin with the incident dome facing the camera position.
- Set the f/stop setting on your camera according to the meter recommendation. Be sure to experiment with the look by adjusting the exposure up or down to taste.
Thats it – there it is! Now, I never studied under the late Monte Zucker but this technique is what helped to make him famous. I happened onto it by accident. I then began to research it and found out that Monte Zucker had been using this technique since the 70’s – amazing! There is nothing new under the sun (pun intended)!
Here are my results from a recent photo shoot. I like it, my client likes it… I know you will too!
Now get outta here and start shooting!
P.S. Want a sneaky way to do this? Get a 5 foot by 12 foot piece of white rip stop nylon from a fabric store. Then, take build two large “L” shapes with 2 cross sections holding them together from PVC tubing available from a hardware store. Clip your fabric to the frame and use it as a diffusion tent. The prince of cheap has struck again!