Overcoming Technical Hurdles in Portrait Photography

Shooting in exotic locations presents unique challenges and opportunities for photographers. Capturing the essence of a place while managing technical difficulties and working with models requires skill, adaptability, and creative problem-solving.

Coming to you from Irene Rudynk, this insightful video takes you behind the scenes of a photoshoot at Bali's Banana Waterfalls. Rudynk faced several challenges, including difficult lighting conditions and communication issues due to the loud waterfall. She opted for wider shots to showcase more of the location, pushing herself out of her comfort zone. The cloudy yet bright jungle setting created tricky lighting situations, with light coming only from above and quickly becoming unflattering. To simplify the shoot, Rudynk chose black bikinis for both models when they posed together, allowing the stunning backdrop to take center stage.

Rudynk shares valuable tips for capturing natural-looking shots in such environments. She instructed her models to move constantly but slowly, allowing her to snap multiple pictures and choose the best poses. For an intimate look, she directed the models to pretend they were whispering to each other while maintaining subtle pose changes. Rudynk emphasizes the importance of showing models the images on the camera's back screen, helping them understand the composition and their appearance in the shot.

The video also discusses the technical aspects of photography in challenging conditions. Rudynk encountered exposure issues due to the stark contrast between dark and bright areas. She initially shot underexposed images, planning to brighten them in post-processing. However, she struggled to recover shadow detail, leading to an important lesson about camera settings. A fellow photographer pointed out that using the electronic shutter on her Canon EOS R5 resulted in 12-bit files instead of 14-bit, limiting her ability to recover shadow detail. This experience taught Rudynk to use full raw and mechanical shutter settings when shooting in high-contrast situations to maximize image information. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Rudynk.

If you would like to continue learning about the art of portraiture, be sure to check out our range of tutorials on the subject in the Fstoppers store.

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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