Bogen recently offered a free one-hour webinar to help with common outdoor lighting problems. A webinar is a great way to get information in real time, you log onto the visual part through the Internet call a tool free phone number to follow along with the audio. Participants are able to ask questions in real time, and polls are taken during the seminar so the instructors can tailor information to the skills level of the majority.

David Fisher and Christopher Abbiss lead the program, highlighting five specific problems when photographing outdoors; working in bright sunlight, making flash photos look more natural, blurring backgrounds, composing your shot and improving nighttime photos. Prizes were given away at the end to three lucky participants. Here are a few tips to take from this program:

  1. Don’t be afraid to use a flash to offset or balance the sun. A fill flash outdoors will help rid your photo of harsh shadows. Use off-camera flash to change to angle of the light to more realistically mimic the angle of the sun.

  2. Use light modifiers like an umbrella, a Lastolite Ezy Box softbox or Tri-grip reflector to control the light, soften the light and make it look more natural.

  3. Use a shallow depth of field to clean up backgrounds and long lenses to compose tighter, alleviating distracting backgrounds. With a shallow depth of field the background will blur allowing your subject to stand out.

  4. See the scene before you ever look through the viewfinder. Take in the scene then consider what would make the cleanest background and most pleasing composition. Use long lenses to compose tighter and rid your photo of distracting backgrounds.

5. Nighttime photos will have better results when the flash is turned off. Use a monopod or tripod to stabilize the camera and don’t be afraid to experiment with longer exposures.

Most of the information was pretty basic but was presented very clearly with photo examples and a list of equipment used. This was the first free webinar by Bogen, check the Bogen website for upcoming sessions.

**UPDATE: Bogen is offering a second webinar on Friday June 27, the topic is selecting the right tripod and head.

—Melissa Macatee
Contributing Blogger