Camping (With Lighting Equipment!)


We went camping a few weeks ago at Lake Casitas. I had mentioned that I was going to the photo editor of a local magazine, and she asked if I could take some camping photos for possible use later on. So I brought along some lighting equipment as I had some ideas. No big guns on this trip, just some speedlights and such. Read on for more images, and technical details.

[click “continue reading” below for more…]

The fire-pit shots I had worked out beforehand in my head. It wasn’t until about half way through our nine-day camping trip that I was able to take them though, due to schedule, family resistance etc. The timing was right though, because at about that time, our camping “neighbors” moved in with some christmas lights attached to their camper. This made for a nice little sparkle of ambient light in the back. You’ll notice that I shot this at dusk too, as there is s very slight skylight through the trees (Hopefully visible on your monitor).

The lighting for the first two shots consisted of a Nikon SB-28 in a 43″ shoot through umbrella, camera left. I had a full CTO on it, to simulate the glow of the fire. I originally had a full and another half on the strobe, but it was toooooo orange. Never thought that would happen! So this seemed like a nice balance. If I wanted complete authenticity, I would have dialed back the strobe and had the light closer to the ground to underlight them (like the fire would). But since this was for a magazine with perhaps not-stellar print quality, I decided to keep the kids bright and portrait-lit.

I also knew that all this orange might be a bit much, so I edge-lit them with a ungelled SB-28, camera right, with a snoot. You can see it mostly on the older boy’s neck and head. This little touch of white light helps ground the image, in my opinion.


Earlier that week, I hauled one light, an umbrella and the boys up a hill, and took these pictures. Skies were cloudy with a little bit of sun here and there. So I just balanced the ambient with the strobe, so that the kids popped in relation to the background. The lighting is more dramatic on the final picture, because they’re closer to the strobe.

Ok I’m off to Vegas for the weekend. And I’m NOT bringing my camera. Or the kids. 🙂

Do you need amazing family portraits in the Southern California area? Ventura, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Orange Counties and beyond…contact me here.



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