This entry is a reply to one of my friends asking tips on how to take pictures in an outdoor setting for a pre-nup pictorial.
Since she's just starting out and haven't figured out what the hell she's suppose to do, I'm about to tell her everything I know which is not that much, too.
I've been asked so many times by friends to take pictures of important events and were even offered fee. Yes, as in pay with real money. And not just a $10 gift card from Target or a packed meal from some Filipino restaurant. But sadly I had to turn them down since I do not have proper/necessary equipment to step up and do it. Some funny ones even tell me that it doesn't matter since they know that I have this nice camera that looks really big and professional enough which would translate to good pictures.
There are so many things to consider, especially if you're shooting outdoors. Two hours is definitely not enough. It should be at least half a day. Timing is the key, too. Because believe it or not, this is when you will find out how fast the sun sets. And before you know it, you've just pass a good chance of that perfect lighting when you're already warmed up and so engaged snapping away.
Next, an ideal perfect outdoor setting would either be early morning or hours before sunset or after the rain and it's still overcast. This is due to the harsh lighting of the sun in between. It would be helpful if you would be able to purchase a UV filter which would at least minimize the glare. An external flash would also help. Yes, I know that look on your face and probably asking, what the hell am I supposed to use a flash for? I already have the sun at my side.
Here's why. These pictures were both taken under the shade.
See the difference?
The external flash helped equalize the lighting on the second photo.
Next is the lens. This would be the most important. You probably have the 18-55mm, right? It's good but not good enough since you would probably want to shoot their picture from a good a distance and not just 5-10 feet away. The reason I'm saying this is because they would look and act more naturally, fit in and be comfortable just like any normal day. The goal is for them to forget your presence so that they exude the true chemistry happening and you will capture candid moments that make some shots remarkable.
RAW vs. JPEG... I'd go for JPEG especially if you have limited space in you memory card. RAW files gives you the advantage of flexibility when editing your pictures assuming you're using Photoshop.
Now, I've already told you to buy stuff, and I'm gonna ask you to stretch your spending powers some more. Promise this is the last one. It would be great if you'll be able to purchase a tripod (or monopod) since you'll be moving a lot. This would greatly help minimize "camera shake" which produces blurry, irreparable photos. You won't notice it when you take a quick peek in your LCD because it's too tiny to give details. But once you start editing, you'll be disappointed.
Ok, these are the basics. I would be discussing most of the technical stuff and camera setting on the next entry. If you have questions, ask away. And if it needs further explanation, I will put them on the next entry.