Sunday, 17 April 2016

Taming The Sun (Part 4)


In the final part of this short series about dealing with a bright sunny day, we'll be adding in a flash head to control the shadow areas and building on the image from the last post.
In the last post we turned the subject around so that the sun was not directly in their face, and ideally we want it to come in from over their shoulder to provide a rim light. That left us with their face in shadow, although at least it was lit by a soft light that is much more flattering.

Adding in a flash to the equation however, gives us the opportunity to really lift the subject from the background and keep that rim light. Here's the lighting diagram for it...


We have the sun coming in from camera right, and slightly behind the subject to provide that separating rim light but we've now added a flash into the mix. I used a Profoto AcuteB 600w/s flash head at about half power, firing into a sliver umbrella that was positioned about as close as I could to the subject, but not so close that it got into the frame.

As with previous images, the edge of the umbrella wraps the light around the subject, but the umbrella is not pointing directly at them. Using the umbrella in this way provides a softer light and all we're trying to do is provide enough light to expose the subject correctly - that rim light being provided by the sun should be a stop or two brighter than the exposure on the front of the subject.

I positioned the umbrella on the same side as the subject too. This renders the photo in a more naturalistic way as the brain can see that the sun is camera right and so the camera right side of the subject should be brighter than the left.

I could have moved the flash and umbrella round to the other side, directly opposite the sun and it can create a very powerful image. This sort of cross-lighting really does make the subject pop out from the background, but can be quite unrealistic looking. Not bad, mind you, just different.

Hopefully this short series had been useful... in all the photos so far, we've either not used an off-camera flash, or just a single flash.

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