Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Turning bad light into good

So the sun is up, the weather is great, it's a perfect time to shoot people outdoors, right? Not so fast...!
It would have been perfect just after sunrise, or right around sunset, when the sun is low, and the light is softer and warmer, but right now, the sun is high with harsh shadows.

When you try to shoot people in bright glaring sunlight, they squint, the light looks harsh on their faces, and the resulting images usually disappoint. The solution? Break the rules! Rather than shooting them with the sun on their faces, turn the shot 180 degrees around, and shoot them backlit.

Now the harsh direct sun becomes nice edgelight on their hair and shoulders, the light is soft on their faces, and they're not having to squint with the sun in their eyes. It also helps to have a shade on your lens to minimize lens flare, and to use a background that isn't too bright, so the nice edgelight or rimlight is visible to separate the subjects.

Nikon F3 with 180mm f2.8 lens

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