This shoot was one of the first I did while we were in Indonesia and it probably has some of the worst lighting conditions of the whole bunch. The sun isn’t at its highest but it’s getting there pretty fast – I think you can guess where it is, just follow the shadows. Given a choice I would have shot at a different time but I had to work with what was available at the time, so I tried to make the best of it.
The first thing to do was to get the sun behind my subject, otherwise there would have been no chance to light her with flash in any meaningful way. The fact that she wanted to hold an umbrella actually helped as well, since it blocked the worst of the light, avoiding a rim light that could have been too harsh and distracting.
I had to push my small flashes (two LP160s in an octabox) quite hard and also keep them close to my subject in order to get enough power from them. In the top shot the left part has been cropped because the octabox was in the frame – I just couldn’t get a good exposure with the light farther away.
I let my model and her two heckling sisters handle the posing, since that’s not something I’m good at, and tried to capture any unguarded moments like the one above as well. It definitely helps when the subject has someone else to interact with, that way I can just focus on shooting and be ready when that genuine smile shows up.
There isn’t all that much else to be said. These were difficult conditions to shoot in but it’s nice to know that my relatively cheap gear can still produce quite decent results. I won’t be able to completely over-power sun like this but at least I can keep in check enough to get something usable out of it. Far from my favourite photos from the trip but it was a good warm-up.
We’re nearing the end of the photos from Indonesia but there are still a couple of portrait sessions left, so stay tuned.