Shoot dra­matic por­traits in epic land­scapes

Practical Photography (UK) - - Creative Self-Portraits -

THE REAL MAGIC OF CRE­AT­ING a self-por­trait in the land­scape is that your time spent shoot­ing isn’t just in pur­suit of an in­cred­i­ble im­age, it also cre­ates a day you’ll al­ways re­mem­ber. Whether you’re hik­ing to the top of a moun­tain, or exploring the shal­low depths of a (bit­terly cold!) lake, you’ll come away from the day with more than just the photo – you’ll also have a new mem­ory of do­ing some­thing amaz­ing.

Find the right lo­ca­tion

Stan­dard por­traits are nor­mally shot with ei­ther a 50mm or 85mm lens, but with por­traits in the land­scape the sur­round­ings are just as im­por­tant as the per­son. Use a wide-an­gle lens, such as a 20mm, to cap­ture the mag­nif­i­cent views you’re sur­rounded by and give the im­age con­text.

Don’t for­get to ex­er­cise com­mon sense when you’re shoot­ing in po­ten­tially chal­leng­ing con­di­tions. If you’re vis­it­ing an un­known lo­ca­tion with un­pre­dictable weather then make sure you take plenty of warm lay­ers. A flask of hot tea or cof­fee doesn’t go amiss ei­ther.

Set up your cam­era

One of the main dif­fi­cul­ties with shoot­ing a self-por­trait is that you’re not be­hind the cam­era to quickly make small ad­just­ments. Set­ting up a rel­a­tively sim­ple shot can eat into your shoot­ing time. The key thing you need to worry about is en­sur­ing that your self-por­trait is com­pletely in fo­cus. To do this, set up your tri­pod where you’ll be shoot­ing from. Then, tak­ing your cam­era with you, walk out to where you’ll be stand­ing, turn around and take a pic of the tri­pod us­ing your

cam­era’s aut­o­fo­cus mode. Walk back and mount your cam­era on the tri­pod, switch to man­ual fo­cus and in­put the AF set­tings. Don’t be afraid to fire off some test shots to dou­ble-check that your fig­ure is in fo­cus so you can get a per­fectly crisp shot.

In terms of aper­ture, you’ll need to strad­dle the line be­tween land­scapes and por­trai­ture. While you don’t want the wide aper­ture that’s usu­ally used for the lat­ter (as this will just re­duce your back­ground to bokeh), you also won’t want too large a depth-of-field, as you’ll need a swift shut­ter speed. Use an aper­ture of f/11 to bal­ance the scales ap­pro­pri­ately. If you’re shoot­ing at mid­day then the light should be bright enough for a low ISO, but don’t be afraid to take it higher if you’re try­ing to cap­ture a dra­matic sun­rise or sunset. You’re go­ing to be ruled by how long you can stand still for, so you don’t re­ally want to push your shut­ter speed any­where above 2sec at an ab­so­lute max­i­mum.

Above The cool blue tones of this im­age con­trast against the red dress, cre­at­ing a dy­namic shot.

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